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19 stars for 2019 | Ryan Papenhuyzen

He’s from Sydney, plays his footy in Queensland and lives in Melbourne.

Ryan Papenhuyzen signed with the Melbourne Storm from the Wests Tigers while he was still eligible for the under-20s, but spent the entire 2018 season playing senior footy in the Intrust Super Cup.

As a member of their NRL squad, he trains with the Storm every week, then jumps on a two-hour flight from Melbourne to Brisbane to play for the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

He’s a super exciting prospect that is a chance to make his NRL debut this year now that Billy Slater has retired, as fullback is his position of choice.

As Slater is regarded the best fullback of his time and potentially in the history of the game, Papenhuyzen learned some valuable lessons off him before he hung up the boots.

“He is unreal, he is really helpful with all of the little things that you wouldn’t think of,” Papenhuyzen says.

“We’ll go out before training and play little novelty games and he’ll give you tips here and there. 

“The whole squad has been unreal, it’s not just him, but he’s someone I will listen to because he’s been there and done it all.

Papenhuyzen bleeds blue, having represented NSW in the Under-18s in 2016 and the Under-20s in 2018.  

He’s fast, agile and a pleasure to watch. Time will tell if Craig Bellemy gives him a chance in the NRL in 2019.