Ryan Papenhuyzen was named the Clive Churchill Medal winner after performing in the Melbourne Storm’s 26:20 win over the Penrith Panthers.
The Storm full-back was flawless when his team with just 11 men took the narrow victory.
Papenhuyzen scored a try in the second half and had a number of crucial tackles in winning the storm. He showed an acrobatic flair to keep the ball in play after a Penrith penalty.
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“That’s incredible. I don’t know (what to say) I’m pretty speechless. After the game I got pretty emotional, ”said Papenhuyzen.“First of all, thanks to the guys. It’s been a tough year as hell. We didn’t know where we were going. We sat on the tarmac at Bankstown Airport with no idea where we were going.
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“We just stuck together, we overcame and adapted and we got history. So thanks to the guys. “Thanks to Telstra and the NRL for keeping the season going.
“It looked really bad at some points, but thank you Peter (V’landys) thank you for getting the game going. You are really strong and we are really grateful for that. It’s been a great year.
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“Thank you, Penrith. You are really good. 17 in a row is an incredible achievement.
“Well done you guys. Many thanks to our fans who stayed strong. Especially ours in Victoria. It’s a tough time in Victoria. It’s a tough time right now and we proudly wear the V on our jerseys.
“We can’t wait to go back and celebrate with you guys, so thank you.”
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