‘I can’t hide’: Storm star knows he’s a target

Ryan Papenhuyzen admits he has a target on him but insists he won’t hide from the physical contact as he makes a strong case to retain his starting fullback jersey for the Storm.

Starting at number one for the first time since Magic Round when he was severely concussed by a head high tackle, Papenhuyzen copped a couple of high shots that won penalties for his team in the NRL record-equalling 34-20 win over the Titans on Thursday night.

He got straight back up from the heavy hits and launched himself into the fray in his best game for the club since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The 23-year-old knows teams will target him physically and push the boundaries, but Papenhuyzen is ready to embrace the challenge.

“I can’t hide from the contact. That’s not going to happen,” Papenhuyzen said.

“If I play like that I won’t be the player I want to be, so I am going to go out with the mentality of ‘if you don’t go hard you are going to get hurt’.

Ryan Papenhuyzen is ready for the knocks. Picture: NRL ImagesSource:Supplied

“That is the mentality I have to go in with. It felt like (I was targeted) a little bit, but that is to be expected to be fair. Teams are going to do that and I know it is going to happen. If we get penalties for it and march down the field, I am happy with that too.

“Those knocks help my confidence too, just knowing I can take it and get back up.

“It felt good getting involved really early with the first aggressive involvement. You get the kick-return and get belted and you get that adrenalin back.”

Coach Craig Bellamy said Papenhuyzen and Nicho Hynes, who played in the halves against the Titans after starring at fullback in Papenhuyzen’s absence, would be in the 17 going forward.

“We haven’t got Hynes or Papenhuyzen. We’ve got Hynes and Papenhuyzen,” Bellamy said.

Papenhuyzen’s display against the Gold Coast did please the coach.

“I was really happy with how he played,” Bellamy said.

“I hope in the next couple of weeks he will keep improving and be cherry ripe for September.”

Nicho Hynes will be in the Storm 17 somewhere. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Papenhuyzen, who had come off the bench in his previous three games, is not sure which way Bellamy will go, but he has no intention of giving up his number one jersey without a fight.

“Your guess is as good as mine, but it is a good headache to have,” Papenhuyzen said.

“ Guys will probably get rested in the next few weeks or so to try and get us ready for the finals, and if that means I can start more, then I can plead my case to start again.

“One hundred per cent (I want to start). I know what I can offer. I know what Nicho can offer too, so it is one of those decisions the coaches and a few of the players have to make as well.

“I love playing with Nicho. He is a great player. If we can both be on the field at the same time, then that is going to be pretty dangerous.

“I was able to start and put everything I have built the last four weeks into a starting position.

“I thought I did that pretty well. There is a little bit to go, but I felt heaps more comfortable.”

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