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Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen.

Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is bracing for a fired-up Latrell Mitchell while returning hooker Harry Grant is ready to play 80 minutes if needed.

Papenuyzen expected Souths to be fired up after a round one loss, with Mitchell out to make up for lost time.

"He's probably their most influential player and you could tell they missed him on the weekend," Papenhuyzen said.

"We'll have to watch some clips from last year and see how he went about his game. I've no doubt he's developed his game since then and he'll be hungrier this year.

"It's a big 'in' for them, we'll have to focus a lot on him because between him and Cody (Walker) that's where a lot of their attack goes. I'm sure they'll be pumped up after losing in round one."

NRL Teams: Storm v Rabbitohs

Papenhuyzen himself was almost going to be a round two returnee but overcame an ankle injury just in time to suit up against Wests Tigers last week.

"It was a bit touch and go, it wasn't until halfway through the week last week I decided I was fit to play," he added.

"The ligaments had healed in my ankle but it was the bone bruising that was taking a bit of time. I was fortunate the medical team pushed me to get back for round one. It feels really good, not sore now and got through the game all right."

Jahrome Hughes puts on a masterclass

Papenhuyzen also paid tribute to his coach Craig Bellamy, who brings up the incredible 500-game career milestone this weekend.

"500 games is an unbelievable achievement," Papenhuyzen said.

"He's done a lot for me in my career so far. In terms of footy he's just kept things really simple but off the field as well, the genuine care, you see how hard he works.

"He just asks for effort and if you put in effort you'll make the side every week. It's a pretty cool message to have from your head coach.

"Hopefully we can see him hit 600 and coach us for a few more years. He just loves it too much, he'd find it too hard to go away from the game. He has genuine passion for the game."

Grant was pumped for his first NRL action of the year after serving a one-game ban in round one – a match in which rookie Tyran Wishart had to play almost the entire game after Brandon Smith broke his hand in the early stages.

"I would have loved to be playing alongside Brandon (this week) but that's the way footy is sometimes, Grant said.

"I'm really excited to be back in the side. Really excited to be down here at AAMI Park again and playing in front of our home members and fans."

Air Coates ready for take-off

It was definitely a different mentality starting compared to his 2021 role of coming off the bench as part of a one-two punch with Smith, he said.

"Last year I probably could have changed my mentality as well coming off the bench," he said.

"Starting, it's going to change a bit but I've trained there all pre-season so hopefully it comes naturally.

"I put my hand up for (playing the full game) but I'm not putting any pressure on having to play 80 minutes.

"See how the first few rounds go and how I'm handling it. Wishy did a great job there the other night, he can cover any position. He's trained pretty much all pre-season at hooker so Brandon's out but maybe me and Wishy are the one-two punch combo."

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Storm

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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