Melbourne Storm Training Session
GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 22: Ryan Papenhuyzen of the Storm speaks to teammates during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Geelong Grammar School on January 22, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is nearing a new two-year contract extension that will keep him at AAMI Park until the end of the 2024 season, per The Sydney Morning Herald

The New South Welshman continues to shine for the Storm this year off the back of his Clive Churchill Medal-winning performance in last year’s Grand Final victory over Penrith.

Currently placed fifth overall in the MVP standings, Papenhuyzen has flourished in 2021 and remains in the frame to make his State of Origin debut this season, with Game I coming in front of home fans at the MCG on June 9.

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The signing is sure to bolster the Storm’s pace and power for the near future, however that tenure could be without coach Craig Bellamy, who’s future remains clouded.

The mastermind mentor was also reported to be nearing a new deal of his own to remain in the Victorian coaches box for the 2022 season, only for the three-time premiership coach to shut down reports of the kind when addressing the media on Thursday.

Bellamy has been closely linked to a move back to Queensland, with the Broncos understood to be keen on landing the 61-year-old to a director’s role.

Cronulla have also fielded interest of their own in bringing Bellamy to the Shire in a similar role, while the expected new Brisbane club set to join the NRL in 2023 would also be a keen suitor.

The Storm are understood to be giving Bellamy plenty of time to decide on his future, with the club preferring to see the veteran gaffer coach for as long as possible before potentially moving into a new role.

Speaking to SEN this week, Storm hooker Brandon Smith lauded the relationship Bellamy has built with his players.

“I can’t wait for him to retire mate, he’s getting too old,” Smith joked.

“Everyone’s got a real good relationship with Bellyache, that’s why everyone wants to play with him. He’s more of a friend than a coach.”