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Paps or Nicho? The fullback dilemma facing Melbourne

True Blue Steve Menzies would never want the headache confronting Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy as he tries to fit not one but two talented No.1s into his side.

“It’s an interesting decision he’s got – two world class fullbacks,” Menzies told this week’s edition of Behind Blue Eyes for nswrl.com.au

“I’m trying to think now of what I would do… I can’t make up my mind.”

Papenhyzen played for 34 minutes in the second half of the 20-16 win over the Cowboys – his return game after nine weeks on the sidelines recuperating from two heavy head knocks.

He initially came on for hooker Brandon Smith, while he underwent an HIA, and played on an edge. Papenhyzen then reverted to fullback allowing Hynes to slot in at dummy-half.

In his absence, Hynes has taken on the No.1 role with aplomb – as well as the goal-kicking duties. The NSW Central Coast junior’s form has been so good he was called into the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues squad as 18th man for Game Three of the Ampol State of Origin series.

Hynes took over the starting fullback role for the Storm in Round 11 against the Raiders and in those past eight games he has scored four tries, had seven try assists, eight line-breaks, 36 tackle-busts and has run over 210 metres four times. He’s also kicked 44 goals.

But remember the punch Papenhyzen had from out the back for the Storm before he was badly concussed in Round 10 against the Dragons.

In the six games he played before Magic Round, he had scored eight tries, had five try assists, eight line-breaks, 23 tackle-busts and twice broke the 250-metre mark for runs.

Fullback seems to agree with both players, which doesn’t make Bellamy’s decision any easier.

“Obviously he sees the boys at training – he trains them in different positions to see how they handle it,” Menzies said.

“When you move them out of the fullback position, defensively it can be tough – just getting your timing off which runner you have, and communicating inside and out.

“Fullback is positionally a lot harder but defensively it’s always one-on-one and if you’re directing traffic you never have to make those split-second decisions.

“Putting someone at No.6 or in the centres, who’s normally a fullback, you might be okay but you might spook players inside and out which makes them make a bad decision, if you’re a bit closer or tighter with the inside players.”

Hynes was originally brought to Melbourne as a five-eighth. But in 28 games over three seasons at the Storm, he’s only started at No.6 once.

Bellamy has kept Hynes at No.1 for this week’s grand final re-match with the Panthers, with Papenhyzen named on the bench once more as he eases the 23-year-old back into more game time.