Border dash hits Papenhuyzen's pocket

Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen had a costly dash into Victoria to avoid mandatory 14-day quarantine to begin pre-season NRL training with the Storm.

RYAN PAPENHUYZEN.
RYAN PAPENHUYZEN. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

A last-minute dash into Victoria to avoid quarantine cost Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen $900 for a one-way flight - and his car.

The Clive Churchill Medallist was holidaying with friends on the NSW Central Coast when he got word the Victorian border would be closing later that night.

Scrambling to pack as much as possible for the flight, the 23-year-old had to leave behind a lot of belongings to make it into Victoria and avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

"I left the car, pretty sure dad sold it so I'm car-less at the moment," he joked on Thursday.

"I had to leave everything behind. I'm still getting mum and dad to send some things down that I left back at home.

"That was a bit of a pain, but I didn't have to quarantine so that's the positive."

And luckily too given the NRL premiers started their annual pre-season camp in Geelong on Thursday.

Without their State of Origin players and the noticeable absence of 430-game veteran Cameron Smith, Papenhuyzen has started ramping up his talk on and off the field.

"I've been here for a few years now and training hard but it's taking it to the next level and really being a leader," he said.

"That comes from being here through a few pre-seasons, you build more confidence and trust in what you do.

"(Craig Bellamy) encourages me to speak up and values my opinion and to get that from the coach is a good feeling."

The Storm are yet to settle on a leadership group for 2021, although it's expected Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich and Dale Finucane will be considered for the captaincy role.

It's expected to be decided over the next few weeks, but whoever takes on the job will have the backing of the playing group.

Papenhuyzen said what the players will miss most from Smith - should he decide not to return to Storm as expected - is his calmness under pressure.

"I don't think someone is going to try and replace Cam if he's not going to be here, it's more about bringing our strengths to the table," he said.

"We have some really good leaders in this side and two that stand out are the Bromwich brothers.

"They're not going to lead like Cam, they're just going to lead like they are. Everyone respects them.

"If everyone is on the same page it'll work.

"What Cam was really good at was his calmness but that's something we need to work on in the pre-season, getting lots of reps in so when we go get into those situations it becomes second nature."