2020 NRL Grand Final - Panthers v Storm
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Ryan Papenhuyzen of the Storm celebrates scoring a try during the 2020 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Storm have locked in one of the game's best on a long-term extension, with Ryan Papenhuyzen re-committing to the club.

The deal will last for three seasons, beginning from 2023 season, with Papenhuyzen already in Melbourne for the next 12 months under his current contract.

The fullback has struggled for game time in the last couple of months, following a nasty concussion sustained against the St George Illawarra Dragons during magic round.

RELATED: Bellamy signs long-term extension with Storm

He returned off the bench last week against the North Queensland Cowboys, and will play from the pine again this weekend in a blockbuster clash against the Penrith Panthers.

However, the Storm's priorities regarding the future of the star number one were clear, with Nicho Hynes allowed to leave the club, heading to the Cronulla Sharks next season.

Papenhuyzen's three-year deal will see him remain at the club until 2025.

His form during the first part of the season as many calling for his potential inclusion as New South Wales fullback, ahead of incumbent James Tedesco.

RYAN PAPENHUYZEN
Fullback
Storm
2021 SEASON AVG
0.9
Tries
0.4
Try Assists
3.9
Tackle Breaks

With eight tries and seven assists in his seven games this year, he is widely regarded as one of the best attacking players in the competition.

He will play his 50th NRL match on Saturday, and took out the Clive Churchill medal in last year's grand final against Penrith.

The 23-year-old said it was an easy decision to stay in the Victorian capital, particularly following the re-signing of Craig Bellamy.

“It’s awesome to have these three extra years locked in,” he said.

“This club gave me my opportunity to play NRL and I just feel like I owe them to sign on here for a few more years.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a successful four years to come.

“I’m excited and pumped because I love everything about this club, the people involved, the fans, the members and the playing group.

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“This is the group I want to be playing with.” Papenhuyzen said coach Craig Bellamy’s decision to extend his contract with the Storm had also played a significant part in his own contract outcome. “Having Craig re-sign made this decision a lot easier."

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