The fullback, who spent more than 400 days on the sideline after shattering his kneecap last July in a clash against the Canberra Raiders, had setback after setback in his recovery.
Originally tipped as a chance of returning during Round 1 of this year's campaign, Papenhuyzen's return to play was pushed back time and time again until he eventually made it back onto the field in the QLD Cup for the Sunshine Coast Falcons a month ago.
Papenhuyzen played all but a few of the 80 minutes, being given an early shower by coach Bellamy after he scored a try, kicked four goals and added a try assist to go with half a dozen tackle breaks.
Bellamy said he used Papenhuyzen in a number of different roles throughout the game because the club still aren't sure how they will use the star in the finals.
"All we wanted to see was how much time he got through. He would have got through 80 minutes if we'd needed him to," Bellamy said during the post-game press conference.
"We used him in a few different roles. He started at fullback, played in the halves and played in the ruck for 10 or 15 minutes. We are not sure how we are going to use him (in the finals). We are pretty sure he is going to be in the 17."
While there was little riding on the game for the Storm, who were already locked into travelling for a qualifying final next week, it was critical for Papenhuyzen to get through a full game ahead of the finals.
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Meaney has been one of Melbourne's best and was given a well-deserved rest ahead of the finals along with a number of Melbourne stars on Thursday night in a win which keeps one of the NRL's longest winning streaks alive.
Bellamy admitted that no matter how Papenhuyzen is used in the finals, he will add X-Factor.
"He gives you a little bit of X-factor. He is an experienced player too. He has been a Clive Churchill Medallist and we know he is going to add something to us," Bellamy added.
"I just think he will get better and better as he goes along. Tonight was a really important step, to be able to play 80 minutes if he had to."
The Storm will tackle either the Broncos or Panthers on the road next weekend, pending the results of other matches during Round 27.