NRL 2021: Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen reveals Olympic secret to his success
After a record-breaking finals performance, Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen has credited Olympian and former Storm sprint coach Adam Basil for giving him the base of knowledge to rediscover his electrifying speed and acceleration.
News Corp can reveal that Basil, who ran for Australia in the 4x100m relay at the 2004 Olympics, will return to the Storm next year as Performance Coach after a successful stint with the club in the same role from 2016 to 2019.
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Papenhuyzen starred in the 40-12 finals win over Manly. His blistering speed and confidence has returned after a lengthy absence with concussion issues. He scored two scintillating tries, kicked seven goals and landed a two-point field goal in a 26-point haul, the most ever by a Storm player in a final.
Basil will return from a two-year stint with the Victorian Institute of Sport to mentor Papenhuyzen once more.
“Early on I didn’t do much sprint training, just little athletics and school carnivals which was just natural speed, but when I got down to Melbourne I had a few hamstring issues and Adam Basil helped me out with my technique,” Papenhuyzen said.
“He changed my running style so I wouldn’t get injured as much. It was a pretty boring and repetitive two years but I am just grateful that he helped me out when I was a nobody and took me under his wing when I hadn’t played any games.
“Adam was our speed coach, ran at the Olympics and knows everything. When someone has been on the big stage before, you listen to what they say.
“A lot of credit has to go him and to our speed coach the last couple of years, Marcus Kain. He does a lot of work with me and checks in on me after speed sessions. Just having those people in my corner I am happy and grateful for and I think that is just the Storm culture where everyone is willing to help.
“The program we have here allows us to do that. A lot of things when Adam was here we still do.”
Papenhuyzen didn’t train for seven weeks and missed two months of action after being concussed in Magic Round. He’s now scored five tries in his last two games after being criticised for his initial form on return from the lay-off.
“Hopefully I am proving those critics wrong now,” he said.
“Looking back I probably overcomplicated things to be honest and thought I had come back to be the player I was. It was always going to be a process and I just had to simplify it and remember that there are players in our side who can do some amazing things and I just have to play off the back of that.
“My confidence levels are back and that came with match fitness levels as well. I am feeling fresh and we were on the front foot (against Manly). That allows me to play my game and I have got guys around me who provide that.
“It will be important to switch off for a couple of days but there is still a big job ahead. As soon as we know who we are versing (in the preliminary final) it will be heads down and prep for that because prelims are tough and there are no second chances.”
Coach Craig Bellamy is just happy to have his electric fullback back and firing after a stellar display against Manly.
“The last two weeks he has come close to what we know of him and expect from him. I thought he was tremendous,” Bellamy said.
“He came up with the big play of the game with that try right on halftime which was a great lift.”
Originally published as NRL 2021: Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen reveals Olympic secret to his success
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