Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen made his Newcastle Knights opponents look foolish as he sprinted 90 metres to pull off a try for the NRL’s end-of-season highlights reel.
During Sunday’s Round 12 clash on the Sunshine Coast, the Knights were trailing by six points in the first half when playmaker Kalyn Ponga booted a grubber towards the Melbourne try line.
Papenhuyzen collected the footy ten metres out at ankle height, and immediately steadied to burst through two tacklers.
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After evading another failed tackle attempt, the 22-year-old executed a classy step which left opposition fullback Ponga sprawled on the turf.
With four Knights chasing him, Papenhuyzen then sprinted the remaining 60 metres, eventually scoring in the corner as the crowd went berserk.
NRL: Ryan Papenhuyzen put a little bit of razzle dazzle on Kalyn Ponga before running the length of the field for a sensational try.
NRL LIVE SCORES: Round 12 match centres
“Just a little too good and a little too quick,” Fox League commentator Andrew Voss bellowed.
“It’s a magical piece of play from Papenhuyzen … he’s one of the stars of the league.”
Penrith Panthers great Greg Alexander agreed: “The way he picked it up and just accelerated between the defenders, left them scattered.
“He was somehow able to maintain that speed for long enough to get him across the try line.
“To be able to throw those players and then come up with that footwork in an instant on Kalyn Ponga and maintain your speed for 90 metres, he’s a great athlete.”
Papenhuyzen has thrown his hat in the ring for a shock Origin call up this season, managing six tries and four try assists in 12 matches to date.
Papenhuyzen might be the most exciting athlete in Australia.
Step/Ankle breaker on Ponga. 🤤
Scorched 80m downfield 🏃♂️ #NRLStormKnights
I firmly believe that Ryan Papenhuyzen is actually an F1 car. #NRL #NRLStormKnights
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Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy believes the speedy prodigy would be an ideal supersub for the New South Wales Blues squad.
“I know when we first brought him into first grade, he was coming off the bench and a bit of his time was in the ruck. We tried to use his pace there either side of halftime,” Bellamy told NRL.com.
“The thing that convinced us to try that was his toughness. He’s a tough kid and he doesn’t shirk the defensive stuff.
“Certainly at times his lack of size gets shown up, but certainly his heart and his willingness to get into contact … there’s not too many tougher players in those situations.
“I think he’d do a great job for the Blues and he’d cover a few positions for them with injuries, but if you needed a little bit of a spark through the middle he’d certainly handle that.
“He’d handle the defensive side of it as well.”
In a worrying moment for the Storm, skipper Cameron Smith exited the field late in the first half with a minor shoulder injury.
“I wouldn’t like to speculate … but uncharted territory when you’re talking about Cameron Smith and injuries. He’s just the player that doesn’t get injured,” Alexander said on Fox League.
Melbourne were leading 18-6 when players retired to the change rooms at halftime.
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