Reigning Clive Churchill Medallist Ryan Papenhuyzen has today signed a three-year contract extension with Melbourne Storm that will keep him in the purple jersey until the end of the 2025 season.
One of the most exciting and popular players in the NRL, Papenhuyzen will celebrate his new contract by playing his 50th match for Melbourne in the blockbuster against Penrith at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday night.
The 23-year-old has made the Storm No.1 jersey his own after his breakthrough season in 2019. He played 22 games in his rookie season, including three finals, and was then a major part of Storm’s premiership-winning team in 2020, highlighted by his man-of-the-match performance in the grand final defeat of the Panthers.
The fullback was in sensational form in his first six games at the start of this season, including a four-try haul against Brisbane, before having to miss 10 rounds due to concussion.
Storm General Manager – Football Frank Ponissi said securing a longer contract for Papenhuyzen had been a high priority for the NRL premiers.
“We love what Paps brings to our club both on the field where he has become one of the best players in the game and off the field where is a tremendous ambassador for Storm and rugby league in general,” Ponissi said.
“He is a very important part of our future and I’m sure our members and fans will share in our excitement about what’s to come from Paps in the coming years.
“While everyone sees how well he performs on the field each week, what they don’t see is how much work he puts into all facets of his game.
“He’s an example of a hard and diligent worker who is making the most of his talent.” In Papenhuyzen’s 50 NRL matches, he has scored 28 tries and he has taken over as the club’s No.1 goalkicker in 2021.
The fan favourite said it was a ”pretty easy decision” to agree to the contract extension.
“It’s awesome to have these three extra years locked in,” he said.
“This club gave me my opportunity to play NRL and I just feel like I owe them to sign on here for a few more years."
“Hopefully it’s going to be a successful four years to come."
“I’m excited and pumped because I love everything about this club, the people involved, the fans, the members and the playing group.
“This is the group I want to be playing with.” Papenhuyzen said coach Craig Bellamy’s decision to extend his contract with Storm had also played a significant part in his own contract outcome. “Having Craig re-sign made this decision a lot easier,” he said.
“We were really pleased when that happened earlier in the week”