Fullback call tough for Storm's Bellamy

Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is back on the Storm bench despite starring last weekend.
Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is back on the Storm bench despite starring last weekend.

Craig Bellamy admits the decision to leave exciting young fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen out of his Melbourne starting side to face Canterbury in Sunday's NRL fixture was a tough one.

Papenhuyzen has been relegated to the bench to make way for the return of Jahrome Hughes, who missed their last round win over Wests Tigers with concussion.

In his first start, the 20-year-old lit up AAMI Park with a scintillating 80-metre try - his third four-pointer in as many matches.

But Belllamy said that Hughes, who got first crack at retired ace Billy Slater's jersey, had done enough this season to keep it.

"It wasn't easy but Jahrome has been one of our better players in the first nine rounds and he deserves a bit of loyalty," Bellamy said on Saturday.

"Paps (Papenhuyzen) has been great in that game and a half that he's had, so hopefully we can play him for a little bit more time than he had when he first came on to the bench."

The Storm eked out an 18-16 win over the Bulldogs in round four after trailing for much of the game.

Rangy winger Jayden Okunbor, in only his second NRL match, made his mark, scoring a try and running straight over the top of Storm skipper Cameron Smith twice.

He will miss the match with a foot injury, with Christian Crichton his replacement in the only change from last week's win over the Titans.

Bellamy said his team was relieved they wouldn't have to handle Okunbor.

"I mentioned that to Cameron the other day and he wasn't very happy about it," Bellamy joked.

"He had one hell of a game so I don't think us as a team are that sad that Jayden isn't playing this week."

The match is Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster's 100th NRL game with Bellamy praising the growth in his playmaker both on and off the field.

"At some stages throughout his career I didn't think he'd get to 100 games but to his credit this year he's really settled down," Bellamy said.

"We love having him around as a person and to play too.

"A lot of times in the game there's not much happening and he can turn it on its head, so we're lucky to have a player like him."

STATS THAT MATTER

- Six of Melbourne's past seven games have been decided by six points or less, including five by two points or fewer.

- Cameron Munster will play the 100th NRL game after debuting in the 12th round of the 2014 season. He's since played four Origins for Queensland, two Tests and won the 2017 premiership.

- Canterbury has the best completion rate in the NRL this season completing at 79.4% whilst making the fewest errors per game (9).

Australian Associated Press