BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Ryan Papenhuyzen of the Storm runs the ball during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images, Image supplied by Kayo)

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has confirmed Ryan Papenhuyzen as a certain starter for Thursday night's Round 16 NRL clash with the Manly Sea Eagles.

The star fullback has been missing since Round 9, when he injured his knee against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

A long recovery, set back by a positive COVID test just days before he was supposed to return ahead of the representative round, has seen Papenhuyzen on the shelf ever since.

Bellamy, speaking to reporters on Wednesday after the team's captain's run, said there was a chance Papenhuyzen could come from the interchange bench against the Sea Eagles.

"He will definitely play but whether he starts off the bench or starts at fullback ... he's missed a lot of footy," Bellamy said.

"We might start him and not have him play the full game.

"We're thinking restricted minutes but we're not sure."

It comes after Papenhuyzen was named amongst the reserves on Tuesday afternoon, before being moved into the number one jumper at the 24-hour team update, as both teams cut their teams to 19 players for the game.

Papenhuyzen was an automatic replacement for the injured Cameron Munster, who dropped out of the team, causing a reshuffle as Nick Meaney moved to the halves.

Should the fullback ultimately come from the bench though, it's tipped that Meaney would move back to fullback, and Jayden Nikorima, in his club debut, would start from the bench.

Bellamy said however that playing just four days after an Origin clash in Perth is something the NRL should be visited by the competition.

"With all due respect I don't know how much thought has gone into having the Origin match in Perth, then having a Thursday night game for us and Manly," Bellamy said.

"Not just us, with Jake and Daly as well, it's hard for them to come back to four days later from an Origin game on the other side of the country.

"So perhaps next time we go to Perth for an Origin game on a Sunday night, they might not have a (NRL) game on a Thursday night."