Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is confident he will be up to the task if he is called on to make his State of Origin debut on Wednesday night.
If Papenhuyzen is thrown into NSW’s front line for Wednesday night’s State of Origin decider, he is ready to be a “speed bump” and slow Queensland down.
The Melbourne speedster has been named on the Blues’ extended bench as a possible utility option for Game 3 in Brisbane next week as coach Brad Fittler mulls over his options.
Following training on Saturday Fittler said he is still undecided about the final 17 and will wait as long as possible before making a decision.
On Friday afternoon he named an unchanged 17 from last Wednesday’s Origin II win in Sydney, which included four forwards on the bench and no recognised utility or injection of speed.
But should he opt to throw Papenhuyzen in to make his Origin debut, the Melbourne fullback will provide both from the bench.
“I’ll probably be a bit of a speed bump … but I’ve just got to put my body in front and make tackles,” Papenhuyzen said.
“I’ve got a lot of help around me to come through those little gaps if they do come straight at me.
“I had a bit of experience doing it when I first debuted so I’ll take some confidence in that.”
After overcoming the calf injury he suffered in the grand final, Papenhuyzen is fit and ready to go if called on.
In his first season with the Storm last year, the 22-year-old played 13 games from the bench before he established himself in the No.1 jersey.
After winning the Clive Churchill Medal in the Storm’s premiership win last month he is full of confidence.
“It’s a different level, Origin, but I got a lot of confidence out of this year. You always play well when you’ve got good players around you and here’s no different,” he said.
“There’s a lot of stars in this team and I’d just have to do my job.”
Fittler said he will wait to see what Queensland do with their side before making any decisions about his own bench and whether to include a utility.
St George Illawarra’s Cameron McInnes is also an option after being named on the extended bench.
“We’re just waiting as long as we can,” Fittler said.
“We’ll have a look at their team and just see what we think will work on the night.
“We’ll give ourselves as much time as possible.”