Papenhuyzen out for ‘four-to-six weeks’ with fracture

Joel Gould |

Ryan Papenhuyzen has suffered an ankle injury in Melbourne’s tight win on the Gold Coast.
Ryan Papenhuyzen has suffered an ankle injury in Melbourne’s tight win on the Gold Coast.

Melbourne’s star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen has suffered a lower-leg fracture in a nailbiting 22-20 win over gallant Gold Coast.

The dazzling Storm No.1 clutched at his right ankle after making a tackle late in the first half of Saturday’s clash at Robina.

It was the same ankle he broke in week one of the finals against Brisbane last year – having already missed 13 months with a shattered kneecap.

The 25-year-old was in a moon boot and on crutches after fulltime, having set up two tries and scoring one of his own.

Papenhuyzen went immediately for scans and later posted on Instagram, referencing the plate he had inserted after last year’s break.

“Thank for the love. Little fracture above the plate, be back soon,” Papenhuyzen wrote.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy felt for his in-form star post-match.

“I don’t know how much bad luck you can have,” he said.

On Sunday, Storm’s director of football Frank Ponissi gave an update on the No.1’s prognosis.

“Scans last night showed Paps has a small fracture to the fibula in the same ankle he injured last year,” Ponissi said. 

“The injury will likely require surgery, which will keep Paps sidelined between four and six weeks.”

Dazzling 21-year-old winger Sua Faalogo, in his second NRL game, scored a try from a scrum – the Titans watching him weave his way over with hardly a hand being laid on him as he gave the visitors a 20-6 lead.

Faalogo, Papenhuyzen’s obvious successor, also ended the game injured.

“He came off with a knee injury at the end,” Bellamy said.

“We’re not sure how bad that is.”

Titans fullback AJ Brimson got the hosts back in the match after they trailed by 14 points and lost No.6, and goalkicker, Tanah Boyd to a left-arm injury early.

Gold Coast skipper Kieran Foran showcased all his nous, skill and desire to beat four Melbourne forwards to score and give the hosts an early 6-0 lead.

Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster, in his 200th NRL game, started and finished a classic try that showcased the skill of Papenhuyzen and much-improved second-rower Shawn Blore.

Munster and Papenhuyzen sent winger Will Warbrick over from a scrum before the Storm fullback finished a Munster-Blore masterclass for a classic try of his own.

But the Titans weren’t done.

Gold Coast winger Phil Sami scored in the corner on 35 minutes when he appeared to bounce the ball over the line. The Queensland State of Origin star laughed when the bunker awarded it.

After the break, Brimson crashed over next to the sticks before a penalty goal levelled things up at 20-20.

AJ Brimson.
AJ Brimson (c) gave the Titans a sniff of victory against the Storm before they fell just short. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Storm’s Nick Meaney hit the post with one penalty attempt but landed his second from the same spot.

Sami was denied with three minutes to go when he put his foot in touch, and the Titans had a tough call go against them at the death when winger Jojo Fifita was ruled to have made a strip in a tackle.

“It was disappointing we gave away some soft tries in the first half but showed plenty of character to come back,” Gold Coast coach Des Hasler said.

“You are going to probably ask about the contentious calls. You get some and you lose some – the ones you lose are always the hardest.

“We could talk for half a day about the strip at the end but that doesn’t help.”

AAP