Blocker: Why Papenhuyzen won't return to Wests Tigers

Ryan Selvage

For the Tigers-turn-Storm prodigy, lightning won't strike twice for Ryan Papenhuyzen.

That’s the belief of Tigers legend and True Blue Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach, who says rumours linking the Balmain junior a return to the club won’t come to fruition.

A NSW Under-20s representative in 2018, Papenhuyzen is contracted with the Storm until the end of the 2020 season.

But the interests of rival clubs are set to heighten as the tackle-busting star heads into his maiden NRL Finals series, ahead of November, when contract negotiations beyond the 2020 season can officially commence.

“I would be very, very surprised if a club like Melbourne let a bloke like that go,” Roach told the Behind Blue Eyes podcast.

“He ran for almost 300 metres (in Round 25 versus the Cowboys) ... that was unheard of a couple of years ago, these guys have changed the way the game is played.

“It started with Billy Slater, then Tedesco, now this young Papenhuyzen – wow. He’s explosive, his speed.”

Papenhuyzen has scored eight four-pointers inside his 19 appearances for Melbourne this season, having broken the line on 13 occasions and assisting for five tries. 

Should the 21-year-old light up the big stage in the Finals, Blocker believes an Origin call-up in 2020 isn’t out of the reckoning.

“You don’t generally carry fullbacks on your bench in Origin, but he could play in any position that kid,” Roach said.