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Small taste leaves Melbourne rookie hungry for main course

Melbourne Storm youngster Ryan Papenhuyzen got a taste of the big time on the weekend when he made his debut against the Bulldogs and is determined to become a regular in Craig Bellamy's side.

Papenhuyzen received a late call-up when star winger Josh Addo-Carr withdrew due to family reasons and the confident 20-year-old came off the bench for the final 13 minutes of the round four contest at AAMI Park.

While Papenhuyzen didn't score a try during his brief cameo, he certainly didn't look overawed as the Storm maintained their unbeaten record with a narrow 18-16 victory at home.

"I am not where I want to be yet, but it is definitely a big stepping stone to be at this club and get a debut here is unbelievable," Papenhuyzen said.

"Any opportunity to get out on the field you really cherish and at this club you really want to do the people that went before you proud.

"I had a simple job to do and I felt like I went out there and did it well."

Match Highlights: Storm v Bulldogs

A one-week suspension to Suliasi Vunivalu and the uncertainty surrounding Addo-Carr's return to the side means a place in the Storm back-line remains open for the trip to Townsville to tackle the Cowboys on Friday night.

While Papenhuyzen has played most of his football at fullback and wants to make a name for himself in that position, the Balmain product is happy to slot in wherever he can while he is still in the early stages of his career.

"It is an honour to put on the jersey, so wherever they want to put me I am pretty happy to play," Papenhuyzen said.

"Fullback is what I have been playing for the last five or six years, and last year I learnt behind Billy [Slater].

"I learnt a lot from him and am still learning from him as he comes in every now and then."

The retirement of Slater at the end of last year left a vacancy at the back for the Storm during 2019, with Papenhuyzen battling it out with Jahrome Hughes and Scott Drinkwater during the off-season to wear the purple No.1 jersey.

A pec injury to Drinkwater during a trial game allowed Hughes to get first crack and the Kiwi hasn't put a foot wrong through the opening four rounds with several impressive performances.

"Some people say, 'how is it like being behind him (Hughes)', but if we are winning I am happy and if I am part of the team I am happy," Papenhuyzen said.

"As long as he is doing well, and we are winning I am quite happy just being part of the team.

"I feel like if I need to help them out I will and they will do the same."

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.