Craig Bellamy plans to use Melbourne's pocket rocket Ryan Papenhuyzen in a specially-devised 'second fullback' role first created around Billy Slater and Cameron Munster as the Storm charge toward yet another minor premiership.
Papenhuyzen starred in Melbourne's 14-12 defeat of the Roosters at the Adelaide Oval, the Storm's sixth straight win leaving them six competition points clear at the top of the NRL ladder.
A back complaint for Jahrome Hughes – who was ruled out on game day after "bending down too much at dummy-half for the Kiwis" last week – saw Papenhuyzen slot in at fullback for Melbourne, finishing with a try and 252 running metres against the premiers.
Bellamy expects Hughes to reclaim the No.1 jumper as early as next week's clash with the Dragons in Wollongong, pushing Papenhuyzen back to his roving ruck role off the bench.
The 21-year-old has previously described the unique position as a "bench fullback", one Bellamy first used in 2017 when Slater was coming back from a shoulder reconstruction after Munster had starred as his replacement the previous season.
Match Highlights: Roosters v Storm
"He was tremendous tonight," Bellamy said of Papenhuyzen.
"Our two fullbacks have gone seriously well since Billy retired... Paps was tremendous tonight, he's got great pace. While he's very small for an NRL player he's as tough as nails.
"I think probably it is that role on the bench when Jahrome plays but that might change as the year goes on.
"We did it a little bit with [Cameron] Munster and Billy when Billy came back [from injury]. Whatever we think is best for the team, what compliments the other players, we'll do."
Papenhuyzen finishes off a long-range Storm try
Papenhuyzen weighs in at only 80kg according to NRL profiles, making him the smallest player in the competition alongside injured Broncos rookie Tom Deardon.
His training tune-ups for the role regularly pit him against Melbourne's hulking middle forwards, with Bellamy holding little concern over Papenhuyzen's defensive ability when he does switch back into the ruck.
"For a guy his size, when he does play in the ruck they're all aiming at him," Bellamy said.
"He doesn't shirk anything, he gets his body in front of them and usually makes his tackles, and he adds a fair bit of zip out there for us."