The coach of the Blues, Brad Fittler, has had Ryan Papenhuyzen in his sights to debut for the NSW team for a few years now, having had the dynamic fullback listed on his extended squad in 2020 and omitted in 2021 due to injury.
But with his form in the first seven rounds - leading the league in tries with ten - Fittler will be salivating at the opportunity to include the speedster when his side trots out to face the Maroons at Stadium Australia on June 8.
Fittler will be pressed to make a decision come selection day as to where he places Papenhuyzen in, as the Storm's favoured position is currently taken by Blues mainstay and former Dally M Player of the Year James Tedesco.
Papenhuyzen's coach, Craig Bellamy, has come out and declared his fullback is ready for the big stage, however, the decision between Tedesco and his number one is a headache he's glad he doesn't have.
“It’s a pretty tough one for me to answer as I’d love to see (Papenhuyzen) in there and I think he deserves to be there,” Bellamy said after the Storm downed the Warriors 70-10 this past Monday.
“You have a look at the incumbent in Tedesco – and again I haven’t watched closely how he’s been going – but he’s been one hell of a player for NSW because he is one hell of a player.
“Last year we were really made aware of how many great fullbacks we have eligible to play for NSW. And I thought ‘Paps’ would be a chance last year to perhaps go in on the bench.
“It’s up to the selectors and you can see both sides.
“But one thing I will say is that he can’t do any more than what he’s been doing to keep knocking on the door. Hopefully he’ll get a start there at some stage.”
If Tedesco is able to maintain his position as the starting fullback, Papenhuyzen will likely look to lock in the number 14 - typically the utility of the side who can be plugged in all across the field.
However, the Storm playmaker would still need to stave off strong claims from Cronulla Sharks Nicho Hynes, who's shaping up to be one of the best buys of the off-season, and 2021 NSW Blues utility Jack Wighton.