Contract negotiations to make Ryan Papenhuyzen one of the highest-paid players in the game are underway, but no deal will be signed until the Storm receive clarification on coach Craig Bellamy’s future , at the request of the young star.
Papenhuyzen, medalist Clive Churchill last year in the Big final Storm victory over Penrith, has stepped up contract negotiations as his current contract with the Storm comes to an end, expiring at the end of next season.
However, any attempt to lock up the 22-year-old, the brilliant successor to club legend Billy Slater, will meet with some resistance, according to a report from Fox Sports, as the full-back seeks to clarify Bellamy’s future, whose future beyond next year remains uncertain.
Melbourne has reportedly offered Bellamy a one-year contract to coach next year before becoming director of coaching for 2023 and beyond.
Whether Bellamy stays in Victoria remains to be seen, with the Broncos making no secret of their attempts to lure the three-time premier coach, Brisbane has reportedly sent out offers of up to $ 1 million a year to lure the 61-year-old.
It was revealed earlier this month that legal action had been launched by the storm against former CEO Dave Donaghy, who left the club for the Broncos after 10 years in Melbourne. It is understood that the lawsuit centers on fears that the Broncos are trying to lure Craig Bellamy to Red Hill.
Another obstacle that the storm must overcome is that of the sharks after the club were recently forced to confirm that “meetings are underway” between the club and Bellamy around a future at Cronulla from 2022.
How Storm deals with his Bellamy headache will be crucial after Papenhuyzen develops.
Rugby league legend Peter Sterling earlier this week admitted he was stunned by the passing game from the back as he transformed in a full back.
“We know Papenhuyzen’s explosive speed, he scored a 70-meter try in last year’s grand final after a scrum victory, but his ball game is starting to go really well, and his awareness of the ‘Where’s the best pass (is) is also part of that,’ Sterling said.