Melbourne Storm comeback star Ryan Papenhuyzen has suffered a major blow just weeks after returning to the NRL.
As the clock ticked down after a tough final defeat to the Brisbane Broncos, the 25-year-old was visibly in pain after suffering what is believed to be a compound fracture of his right ankle during a failed defensive play.
Papenhuyzen immediately reached for his leg and sought help as Suncorp Stadium fell silent.
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Storm coach Craig Bellamy had his head in his hands while captain Christian Welch sat dejected on the bench.
Papenhuyzen received pain relief and was taken away in a medical taxi to a standing ovation.
He started Friday night’s final on the substitutes’ bench as he continued his comeback from a broken kneecap suffered at the same venue last year.
Brisbane scored again shortly after play resumed to secure a 26-0 victory, their first victory over the Storm since 2016.
There’s more to come…