Ryan Papenhuyzen had to fight his way to the top of the NRL and says he could not have reached the top without inspiration from an all-time sports great.
Melbourne Storm Gun Papenhuyzen was told as a teenager that he was too small to pursue his dream of playing rugby professionally.
But now he weighs 84 kilograms and is considered one of the best players in the sport. The full-back says he turned to legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady for inspiration.
“It probably knocked me out when I was first told that, but once I started making a little bit of progress there was that extra motivation that kept me going,” he told Fox Sports.
“I firmly believe that you are never too small or too big or never fast enough to do anything.
“I look at someone like Tom Brady over in the NFL, when he got drafted he was very disrespected, he was slow and didn’t think he was capable, and then you look at someone like him.
“I think you find your difference somewhere, and for him it was between his ears, and for me that’s something I’ve worked really hard on and I think there are other areas that you can balance out if you’re too.” are small or whatever.
“One thing I learned coming down to the storm is that if you really put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want, and from there the world really is your oyster.”
Papenhuyzen spent a year away from the league as a teenager trying his hand at Union and touch football but was lured back to his first love with his renewed desire to reach the NRL.
“It was always a dream to play NRL as a kid, but then there was that little time in between when I was indirectly told you weren’t good enough,” Papenhuyzen said.
“I enjoyed my touch footy and also played (rugby) union at school, played cricket on the weekends, I love sport in general.
“Back then it wasn’t too hard to have a year off, but I got back into it with my touch footy buddies.
“We started a team from Dundas and they fell under the Balmain competition and we won a competition there and I really enjoyed football again.
“It went through Balmain’s junior system and then got recruited by the Storm and the rest is history.”