Ryan Papenhuyzen’s NRL comeback cut short after just three games following devastating ankle injury | Englishheadline


The NRL community has been rocked after one of the game’s fan favourites suffered a heartbreaking injury just three games into his return from a long-term layoff.

Fans collectively had their hearts in their mouths in the 73rd minute of the blockbuster finals clash between the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium when Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen laid on the ground in agony.

With the Storm down 20-0 to Brisbane with seven and a half minutes remaining, the fullback was defending in the middle and attempted to make a tackle on Thomas Flegler before he was accidentally collected by Nelson Asofa-Solomona, also making the tackle.

Papenhuyzen immediately dropped to the ground and put his arm up to call for help before clutching his lower leg as he appeared to be in excruciating pain.

He was later revealed to have suffered a compound fracture to his right ankle.

Play was stopped for several minutes as the medicab made its way out onto the field with the crowd and commentary box becoming noticeably sombre.

The fullback eventually exited the ground with the green whistle in his mouth while coach Craig Bellamy had his head in his hands.

It comes after the 25-year-old had his last three seasons disrupted with injuries after winning the 2020 Grand Final in a performance that bagged him the Clive Churchill Medal for player of the match in the Storm’s win over Penrith.

A severe concussion ruled him out for an extended period in 2021, playing just 15 games.

In 2022, he spent six weeks out with a hamstring and knee injury before shattering his knee cap in ten places three games into his return.

About 13 months later, Papenhuyzen finally returned to the footy field after an arduous rehabilitative process, playing three games for the Sunshine Coast Falcons in reserve grade before a call-up to first grade beckoned.

He came off the bench in the Storm’s win over the Titans a fortnight ago before almost getting through the full 80 minutes in the win over Brisbane last week where he scored his first try since June 2022.

Coach Craig Bellamy was shattered for his star player who has another long road to recovery ahead of him.

“I just can’t imagine how Ryan’s feeling at the moment,” he said in the post-match press conference.

“The amount of work he’s put in to get back to playing again and then he had to work hard to get back into the NRL team, he played three or four games for the Falcons.

“It wasn’t a great night anyway, and this just made it a lot worse.”

Papenhuyzen posted a heartening update from the hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning on his Instagram story with the caption:“We go again, love ya.”

Brisbane won the match 26-0 to secure a home preliminary final in a fortnight while Melbourne will meet the winning side from Saturday’s clash between the Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters in a home semi-final next week.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top
%d bloggers like this: