Melbourne Storm’s Ryan Papenhuyzen has agreed a contract extension lasting until the end of 2022.
The full-back made the incredible transition from third-string to starter last season and was noted for his speed and elusiveness, managing to score nine tries in 22 appearances.
The 21-year-old said that his promotion to starting full-back played a role in the new deal but that he never wanted to leave Melbourne.
“I don’t even know if this offer would have came about if I didn’t get that starting role,” Papenhuyzen said.
“It’s funny how it all pans out. Getting that opportunity and seeing that clear part ahead and speaking to the coaches and Billy Slater the other day. You see the opportunities that come from signing on here.
“I had a chat with Billy to see what was ahead from me and what to expect for my second year.
“He said you have to keep laying those foundations, keep working hard and improve things around that like do a bit more video, be a smarter footy player and be confident in bringing your ideas to the team.
“What I took away from Billy was ‘don’t get comfortable’. You have to stay ahead of the game as it catches up with you pretty quickly.
Papenhuyzen said he knew rumours were building when he hadn’t signed an extension on November 1 but didn’t think about leaving Melbourne.
“I wanted to make the decision earlier,” Papenhuyzen said.
“I sort of wanted a week to sit down, relax and think about it but that week fell as November 1 turned over and a few people started speculating that I was moving.
“That was not going to happen. I just wanted to sit down and think about the offer. I wanted to take my time a bit too.”
The club has yet to extend the contracts of Brodie Croft and Curtis Scott but it is thought to be unlikely as they are looking at deals with Brisbane and Canberra respectively.