NRL 2023, Melbourne Storm, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Bill Knowles, Storm fullback provides update on USA trip

Storm superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen is loving his time in the USA with renowned reconditioning specialist Bill Knowles but says he won’t be rushed into putting a timeline on his return to the NRL.

Papenhuyzen has been in Philadelphia for a week and told SEN Radio the training he has been doing is “awesome” and he is “feeling better personally and the leg’s feeling better”.

Speaking on SEN in Melbourne on ThursdayPapenhuyzen said the key takeout from his time with Knowles has been not to rush back to the playing field but rather to wait until he is confident he can perform at an elite level.

“What he has really highlighted is ‘you’ll come back no doubt, but there’s a difference between just coming back, and coming back and performing,” said Papenhuyzen, who fractured his kneecap against the Raiders in July.

“I tried to come in with not too many expectations but I’ve already learned so much. Every day it is something new and we have one of our physios [Liam Robinson] over here as well taking lots of notes every day so this will help not only me but the whole club.”

Papenhuyzen explains decision to make US recovery trip

Knowles worked wonders with Souths star Latrell Mitchell in 2022 as he fought to overcome hamstring problems, delivering a clear message about changing the mentality from rehab to reconditioning.

After seeing the benefits Mitchell gained from his time in the USA both the Storm and Sea Eagles have chosen to send their gun fullbacks to spend time with Knowles.

Tom Trbojevic leaves Australia on Saturday to work on his troublesome hamstrings with Knowles while Papenhuyzen already has a week under his belt in Philly.

“You learn about your body and how it moves. We laid out a plan and identified what I need to get better at,” Papenhuyzen said.

“The physios in the NRL are great but they are looking after 40 other people whereas I am getting a two-hour session twice a day and it’s one-on-one.

“Bill taks a lot about ‘this is who you were before your injury and this is what we have to do to get you back there’.

“There’s little milestones I’m achieving each day which I wasn’t achieving if you look back a month.

“I had a disrupted pre-season last year injuring a few ligaments in my ankle after the new year then I came back and got injured and then I came back and got injured again so what you realize is you need a good training block – you don’t just come back when you’re ready to come back, you come back when you’re ready to perform.

Season shapers: Storm

“I’ve said all along I haven’t really thought about a date to come back.

“I know I’ll come back but I want to come back when I’m right and that’s when the conversation started – he said that’s a good way to think of it because you might get cleared by your medics but have you done the training .

“You don’t want to go into a season having not done a pre-season, you have to think about those sorts of things as well.

“I really don’t have a date in mind, it’s more getting it back to a level where I feel like I can perform well again, and once we are there we’ll start looking at dates.”

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