Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy said star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen “can‘t do any more” to earn his first State or Origin call-up after winning the Anzac medal in his team’s 70-10 thrashing of the Warriors on Monday night.
Papenhuyzen scored two tries and set-up three more in the Anzac Day rout which Bellamy said was as much a result of the visitors being hit by injuries as his own team’s dominance in a 10-try second half.
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It continued a stunning start to 2022 for Papenhuyzen who leads the NRL in points (101) and tries (10).
Behind NSW fullback, and captain, James Tedesco in the pecking order, Papenhuyzen said he “hadn’t really thought” about Origin.
But Bellamy believes the 23-year-old deserves a shot, if only on the bench for the Blues having narrowly missed selection in 2020 and 2021.
“I’d love to see him in there, I think he deserves to be there,“ he said.
“The incumbent is Tedesco … he’s been one hell of a player for NSW. Last year we were really made aware of how many great fullbacks we have eligible to play for NSW.
“I thought Paps would be a chance last year to go in on the bench. The one thing I will say is he can’t do any more than what he is doing to keep knocking on the door.”
Papenhuyzen said nothing could distract him from playing his best for Melbourne, and anything beyond that was a bonus.
“I haven’t thought too much about Origin to be fair. You play good footy, you get picked in those sides,” he said.
“I’m in a good footy team here, and valued here. That’s what I am focussing on.”
Recruit Xavier Coates also scored four tries in his best outing in purple and Bellamy said he had been a “little bit down” about a lack of defensive cohesion with his new teammates.
But Bellamy said the winger threw himself into making improvements and that came through in his starring role in the rout.
“One thing about Xavier, whatever he does he does flat out, he went flat or a few times and that’s why he got a couple of those tries,“ he said.
“We love having him in our side and he’s a valuable member.”
Bellamy said the lack of ball the Warriors had in the second 40 minutes, completing just two of seven seven sets, was something he’d never seen before in a game of rugby league and contributed to the huge scoreline.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that or heard of it,” he said.
“A lot of things went against the Warriors, but having said that I couldn’t fault too much of what we did. It was a really dominant performance.
“I don’t want to take any gloss off how well we played, but not much went right for the Warriors in the second half. “