Contract negotiations to make Ryan Papenhuyzen one of the highest-paid players in the game are under way, but no deal will be signed until the Storm receive clarification on the future of coach Craig Bellamy, per the request of the young star.
Papenhuyzen, who was last year’s Clive Churchill Medallist in the Storm’s grand final win over Penrith, has ramped up contract talks as his current deal at the Storm winds down, expiring at the end of next season.
However, any attempts at locking up the 22-year-old, the brilliant successor to club legend Billy Slater, will be met with some resistance, according to a Fox Sports report, as the fullback looks for clarity on the future of Bellamy, whose future beyond next year remains unclear.
Melbourne have reportedly offered Bellamy a one-year deal to coach next year before moving into a coaching director role for 2023 and beyond.
Ryan Papenhuyzen. (Getty)
Whether Bellamy stays in Victoria remains to be seen, with the Broncos making no secret of their attempts to lure the three-time premiership coach, with Brisbane rumoured to have sent in offers of up to $1 million-a-year to lure the 61-year-old.
It was revealed earlier this month that legal action was launched by the Storm against former CEO Dave Donaghy, who left the club for the Broncos following 10 years in charge at Melbourne. It’s understood the legal action is centred around fears the Broncos are set to lure Craig Bellamy to Red Hill.
Another hurdle the Storm must overcome is the Sharks after the club was recently forced to confirm that “meetings had been ongoing” between the club and Bellamy surrounding a future in Cronulla from 2022.
Craig Bellamy the coach of the Storm (Getty)
How the Storm manage their Bellamy headache will be crucial following the development of Papenhuyzen.
Rugby league legend Peter Sterling earlier this week admitted he’s been left stunned by the fullback’s passing game as he transforms into a complete fullback.
“We know about the explosive speed of Papenhuyzen, he scored a 70 metre try in last year’s grand final from a scrum win, but his ball playing is starting to come along very nicely, and his awareness as to where the best pass is (is) also a part of that,” Sterling said.
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