Melbourne are nearing agreed terms with star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen over a long-term contract extension that is set to pocket the Storm speedster over $2.5 million.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Storm are looking to forward negotiations ahead of the club's season opener against South Sydney on Thursday.
Papenhuyzen, who remains off-contract at the end of 2021, would become one of the league's highest paid players, earning close to $800,000 per season for the next three to five years.
— NRL (@NRL) September 4, 2020
Now entering his third year at the club, the 22-year-old is touted as a key player to lead the Storm in life after Cameron Smith, with the 2020 Clive Churchill medallist joining Harry Grant and Cameron Munster as the Storm's next 'big three'.
Munster lauded Papenhuyzen's potential to become one of the NRL's best players in the coming decade.
“I’m confident to say Paps can one of the superstars of the NRL,” Munster said, per The Daily Telegraph.
“He is willing to learn, he is never complacent.
“It was his first full year as fullback for us and he won a premiership and won the Clive Churchill, so it shows he can be the next Billy Slater.
Papenhuyzen puts the lightning in the storm ⚡ pic.twitter.com/snnNIkpRkP
— NRL (@NRL) December 9, 2019
“Billy didn’t have the best passing game at the start of his career, but he worked on his game and became one of the best fullbacks the game has seen.
“He has a brilliant work ethic and that’s why he deserves whatever he can earn because he never stops wanting to learn and get better.
“‘Paps’ can be up there with James Tedesco in the next 10 years.”
Papenhuyzen has played 42 games for the Storm since making his debut in April, 2019.