NRL news; Storm star Ryan papenhuyzen says hunger is back after ugly 2022 end

Melbourne Storm star Ryan Papenhuyzen isn’t running yet as he continues to tick off milestones in the recovery from a shocking fractured knee cap which ended his season in July.

But the fleet-footed fullback is walking well enough to play golf and will hit his Thursday training session with a spring in his step after taking out the pro-am at the Australian Open at Victoria golf club.

Papenhuyzen has been working golf in to his recovery routine after getting the all-clear from his surgeon “a while back” and while he awaits the green light to resume running.

He was buzzing after his victory, playing with former AFL player turned podcaster Dylan Buckley, musician Sam Marghin and German professional Velten Meyer.

But after a rehab period which he conceded had been “a bit up and down” he was hoping to be running before Christmas with his eyes firmly on a Round 1 return.

“It’s not always a smooth line, as I say, so it‘s sort of just been getting my head around that and making sure I’m doing the right things here and there,” Papenhuyzen said after celebrating his golfing victory.

“And if I’m gonna go play golf I make sure my recovery is just as long and then make sure I can turn up to training sort of not going backwards.

“I‘m not running yet but hopefully before Christmas and then that will give me a good timeline to be good for Round 1.”

Papenhuyzen said there was a “fresh” feeling around the Storm with the departures of senior players including the Browmich brothers, Jesse and Kenny, to the Dolphins as well as Brandon Smith moving to the Roosters.

But the players haven’t been given respite from coach Craig Bellamy who told them the pre-season, set to be his last in charge, would be their “hardest ever” as they look to atone for their exit in the first week of the finals.

“I feel like the guys who are coming in they‘ve got a sort of point to prove and the hunger is going through the roof,” Papenhuyzen said.

“So to sort of see that yeah, we’re a bit less experienced, but I think you can make up for that in other areas. And I think the hunger side of things is probably something we lacked last year.

“So yeah, it’s good to see and everyone’s been positive and not too many guys in rehab, which is always a good sign.”

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