Storm star Ryan Papenhuyzen won't rush into what looms as a lucrative extension for the rising star while Craig Bellamy considers his next coaching move.
Papenhuyzen takes on Penrith in Thursday's grand final rematch, having cleaned up with a Clive Churchill Medal last October that only raised his status as one of the NRL's emerging elite.
As Storm chairman Matt Tripp told NRL.com recently, the prospect of a new Brisbane side entering the 2023 player market has led to the club ramping up retention plans for Papenhuyzen and Harry Grant to ensure they are tied up before they can be targeted as marquee recruits.
Melbourne officials say no offer has been tabled to either player yet, though a long-term, upgraded extension beyond 2022 has been discussed with Papenhuyzen's management in recent weeks.
The 22-year-old fullback has another nine months until he comes off contract and will know where Bellamy's future lies well before that date.
Papenhuyzen: 'Penrith have threats all over the park'
While the veteran mentor weighs up staying with Melbourne, most likely as a coaching co-ordinator rather than head coach, or finally plumping for Brisbane after repeated pursuits over the years, Papenhuyzen is in no hurry to sort his own contract talks.
"[Bellamy] has obviously helped with my development and I feel like he's been a big part of that," Papenhuyzen said on Monday.
"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.
Graham Annesley weekly football briefing - Round 2
"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.
"There's been talks here and there, my manager's dealing with that at the moment. I've still got this year and next year on contract so it's not too much of a rush or a decision that needs to be made but I think there's stuff happening in the background."
Bellamy told reporters last week that there was no update on his future.
The Storm are also still in talks with off-contract captain Dale Finucane about his own possible extension, though a deal is yet to be tabled.
As for Papenhuyzen, the jersey he wore and had signed by his teammates in last year's grand final has been through the wringer, gathering mould in a plastic bag for several weeks last summer before he remembered it.
The Clive Churchill Medal at least is safe and sound at his parents' house.
Every try from round 2
Having never gone back-to-back despite five grand final wins during Bellamy's tenure, Melbourne's focus against Penrith is on adjusting to life without the other constant of the past two decades – Cameron Smith.
Bellamy conceded Smith's match-winning nous was missed in last week's 12-6 loss to Parramatta, with Papenhuyzen slated to step into the playmaking breach this year.
"Craig said we need to take more responsibility on ourselves to get those key messages across during those periods of the game," he said.
"There was a few moments when we went a bit quiet and weren't sure how to handle a few things.
"There was probably a little bit we missed there ... just that extra touch, we had a minute left and could have played the set out."
What will be the result in this Telstra Premiership clash?
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