When Ryan Papenhuyzen is healthy and in form, he is one of the most dangerous attacking players in the NRL. With an incredible combinations of speed and acceleration few can match, Papenhuyzen can not only carve up and opposition, he can take a game and just end it with blitzkrieg of football that is dazzling and unstoppable.
That is what makes his terrible run of injuries over the last few years all the more heartbreaking.
Rugby League can be very cruel in that it moves on pretty fast, and it seems that the Melbourne Storm are now looking to move on from Ryan Papenhuyzen and give his number of jersey to youngster Sualauvi Faalogo on a full-time basis.
Sualauvi Faalogo was electric in his debut for the Melbourne Storm this season, and he carried that form into the international arena with some scintillating displays for Samoa in the Pacific Championship.
He comes at a much cheaper salary than Papenhuyzen, and at some point the Storm can’t keep waiting and hoping that Papenhuyzen will be fit and ready to play out and entire season. They need to start looking forward.
Its harsh, without doubt, and in an ideal world Papenhuyzen would fight back from yet another devastating injury, retake the field for the Storm and absolutely kill it for them.
The question is, how many more seasons can the Storm afford to wait for that to hopefully play out?
The Storm have lost so much talent in recent years due to salary cap constraints, and as a club that is known for talent identification they are always looking for a youngster who can step into their top grade and get the job done.
No club in the NRL can afford to have a big chunk of their salary cap sitting on the sideline, let alone have that happen season after season. The Storm aren’t a club that goes into a season hoping to do well, they aim to win the Premiership, and as such they have to make the right moves at the right time so they don’t fall off the premiership race and end up back in the pack.
In that sense, trying to move on Ryan Papenhuyzen, giving a youngster his place, and freeing up that salary cap space to use elsewhere is smart. It just feels so cruel to Ryan Papenhuyzen who has to deal with this news as he goes through rehab once again.
Hopefully Papenhuyzen ends up at the right club for him, he can finally have injury free football under his belt, and he ends up being totally fine. It’s just a shame it looks like it is going to be a bit of a messy finish to his time at the Melbourne Storm.