Storm superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen will return to America in December to meet renowned reconditioning specialist Bill Knowles in a bid to get his body back in order, with the club hoping he will be fit to play the first round against the Panthers.
Papenhuyzen teamed up with Knowles earlier this year after his 2022 campaign was cut short by a shock knee injury, with his return late in the season one of the feel-good stories of the year.
But the comeback didn’t last long with the full-back suffering a horrific ankle injury on a heartbreaking night in Brisbane in the final.
It was unclear whether the injury would sideline him for the start of the 2024 season, but Storm chief executive Justin Rodski says there is a good chance Papenhuyzen will recover in time to face Penrith as Melbourne look to continue his incredible keep their undefeated round 1 series alive.
The hapless fullback was injured during the Melbourne Storm’s defeat to the Brisbane Broncos in this year’s NRL final
Papenhuyzen returns to America to work with Bill Knowles after spending time with the specialist earlier this year
The Storm star is determined to return for round one against NRL premier Penrith
‘Dad is doing very well. His recovery has been solid,” Rodski said
‘He’s going back to the US in December to see Bill Knowles.
‘He does that of his own accord. It’s something he was very passionate about, both from a physical and mental standpoint.
“The work Bill did with him earlier this year on his kneecap definitely helped him come back this year.
‘In any case, he will be back at work in January. Everything is going well, he has every chance of being ready for Round 1, which is very nice and exciting for everyone involved with the Melbourne Storm, but also for Ryan.”
The 2020 Clive Churchill Medal winner will fund the trip to America, just weeks after a report emerged suggesting the Storm were trying to get rid of him, despite the speedster having two years left on his contract.
The club vehemently denied the allegation that suggested youngster Sua Fa’alogo could feature as a wing-back and save the Storm a lot of money.
Papenhuyzen has suffered serious leg injuries in recent years, prompting speculation that the Storm may want to move him on
The X-ray of the serious knee injury that Papenhuyzen suffered in 2022, showing his shattered kneecap
Storm fans hope the electric full-back can return to full fitness in 2024
“I was very surprised,” Rodski said.
‘The club does not know that anyone is talking about Ryan Papenhuyzen leaving our club.
‘He is a beloved figure within the club. He is very respected, loved by his teammates and he is a quality player.
“Although he has had some bad luck with injuries in recent years, we are confident he can return for the Melbourne Storm.
“As the quality and star player that he is both on and off the field, those comments were surprising to us, but there is certainly no truth in them.”