Melbourne Storm are reportedly close to locking in superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen.
The 22-year-old is contracted until the end of the 2022 season but the Storm are keen to secure his signature before Papenhuyzen is eligible to start speaking to rival clubs in November.
Papenhuyzen has previously indicated he would not rush a decision on his future until there was clarity over Storm coach Craig Bellamy[Bellamy] has obviously helped with my development and I feel like he’s been a big part of that,” Papenhuyzen said in March.
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“I guess he’d be a little factor in the decision. But at the end of the day I can’t decide that, that’s his decision.
“It’d be handy to know but I’ve still got a couple of years to think about that because I’m still on contract.”
While there has been no decision on Bellamy’s future, Wide World of Sports reports an announcement on a new, three-year extension for Papenhuyzen ia expected this week.
“With his back-up Nicho Hynes heading to Cronulla next year, signing Papenhuyzen has become a huge priority for the Storm and expect the new long-term deal to be announced in coming weeks,” WWOS reports.
CANBERRA LINKED TO ANOTHER ENGLISHMAN
The Raiders are reportedly looking at another Englishman to replace George Williams after the halfback was released by the club earlier this month.
Williams spent a year-and-a-half in the nation’s capital before requesting an immediate release.
Canberra initially refused before Williams missed a scheduled training session on Tuesday due to mental wellbeing concerns, informing the club’s welfare manager of his situation via text.
The Green Machine then declared the situation ‘untenable’ and immediately released the 26-year-old who later claimed he had been “kicked out the door”.
Now the Sydney Morning Herald reports former Dragons star Gareth Widdop could be the man to step into the vacant No.7 jersey for Ricky Stuart.
Widdop has been trying to secure an NRL lifeline having returned to the UK in 2019 where he has plied his trade for the Warrington Wolves.
It comes as the Raiders ruled themselves out of the race for Sharks star Shaun Johnson.
Johnson is off-contract at the end of the season and has been told by Sharks he will not be offered a new deal in the Shire.
The Raiders were expected to be in the race to sign the talented playmaker but on Tuesday the SMH reported they had pulled out.
It leaves the Bulldogs as the frontrunner to secure his services. It also further casts doubt over the future of Kyle Flanagan who was dropped to reserve grade earlier this year after his high-profile switch from the Sydney Roosters