Ryan Papenhuyzen celebrated not only his first hat-trick in the NRL, but went on to score a fourth try, and successfully convert on all four occasions in one half of football placing himself in Melbourne Storm’s history books as the club celebrated its 400th club win tonight against the Brisbane Broncos.
The youngster delivered in the first half of the match, running 183 meters, and scoring at 100 per cent efficiency.
The full-back was simply unstoppable, as the Broncos failed to manage control over Papenhuyzen.
Storm’s head coach Craig Bellamy said that his full back is close to becoming one of the best in the competition.
“James Tedesco has been the best fullback over the last few years, but what I’ll say is that Paps is getting real close to him,” Bellamy said at the post-match press conference.
“At the moment, we wouldn’t swap him for anyone without a doubt.”
Papenhuyzen’s score of 24 points was the highest scored by any individual player in a first half of football since 1980. The Storm’s fullback singlehandedly heightened the momentum of his side, who in the first 30 minutes of play, accumulated six handling errors.
The Broncos took advantage of this, scoring the game’s first try in Xavier Coates, after Josh Addo-Carr attempted a dive too early under pressure, allowing Coates to chase away. Jamayne Isaako followed through with a successful conversion.
“I was really happy with [the team] tonight. We didn’t have the greatest start; we didn’t compete well. I was really happy with the way [that when] we got behind we didn’t panic,” Bellamy said.
“Paps was set on fire and we made a couple of dints there, then he finished them off.”
Papenhuyzen’s first came in the 25th minute after receiving the ball from Addo-Carr. Coates was unable to chase down Addo-Carr who doing what he did best, sprinted up the outside, finding sight of Papenhuyzen who then went on to score. He successfully converted and levelled the scores 6-6.
The Storm’s number one, only four minutes later scored his second try for the night. An easy kick in front of goal allowed him to then convert and give Storm a 12-6 lead.
In the 39th minute, Papenhuyzen’s third came under pressure, but the 22-year-old held his composure to fight his way through the Broncos defence. Straight in front of goal, the conversion was all but easy, allowing him to celebrate his hat-trick with a perfect possible score.
Three was just not enough, and with six minutes to go in the half, Papenhuyzen only needed another two to go on to score his fourth try.
Papenhuyzen has been an important asset for Storm, who in only 45 games with the club had scored 22 tries prior to the evening.
“We’re real proud of him and where he’s come from, and the improvements he’s shown since he’s been here. He’s been tremendous,” Bellamy added.
Melbourne Storm’s domination continued, keeping the Bronco’s scoreless in the second half and securing victory 40-6.