While the Brisbane Tigers enjoyed the bye this week, Melbourne Storm feeder team the Sunshine Coast Falcons kept their finals hopes alive with a dominant 40-18 win over the Norths Devils on Saturday.
Boasting eight Storm contracted players on Saturday, the Falcons proved too good for the Devils at Bishop Park, running in seven tries across the 80 minutes.
Ryan Papenhuyzen starred for the Sunshine Coast-based outfit, registering a try, two line break assists, two try assists and 127 run metres in a dominant 80-minute performance.
Storm contracted players Tyran Wishart and Sua Faalago both crossed for tries while Ryan Papenhuyzen ensured the Falcons finished the game with a bang, scoring his first try since his return from injury.
An early double to Falcons teammate Jack Gibbons put the visitors in the drivers seat for a majority of the contest, a lead they never looked like relinquishing for the remainder of the contest.
Papenhuyzen was also near perfect with the boot, slotting 6/7 of his conversion attempts.
Falcons captain Sam Burns said he was happy to see Papenhuyzen back playing rugby league and was relishing the oppportunity to play alongside him in Falcons colours.
"The class of Ryan Papenhuyzen out the back of shape, he was everywhere today. He even made try-saving tackle, went 80 metres and he was the first one there to get a tackle for us and earn a result which gave us the ball back,” Burns said.
"We actually got down the end in the next set and scored so that was a massive play from Paps.”
"It's been a long road for him, so it's good to see him back. Not only his knee, but with a bad run with concussions, so he hasn't played that much in the last year and a half so it's just good.”
“He's smiling heaps because he loves his footy and misses footy a lot. Coming back for the Falcons is enjoyable for him too. He loves it here, loves all the boys and we love him too."
Next week shapes as a massive clash for the Falcons when they take on the 7th placed Tweed Seagulls at Piggabeen Sports Complex while the Brisbane Tigers will be in a fierce battle for a top-four spot when they take on the 5th placed Wynumm Manly Seagulls at BMD Kougari Oval.