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Craig Bellamy, Melbourne Storm press conference, Jahrome Hughes, Storm beat Eels, Ryan Papenhuyzen return, knee injury

Storm coach Craig Bellamy hailed Jahrome Hughes’ playmaking masterclass, masterminding his side’s statement 46-16 win over the Eels.

Melbourne’s playmaking trio of Hughes, Harry Grant and Cameron Munster ran riot at Marvel Stadium, orchestrating a staggering eight tries to put Brad Arthur’s men to the sword.

After Grant stole the show with two back-to-back first half tries, Hughes then went to work and had a hand in five more four-pointers.

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The 29-year-old New Zealand international crossed for a try of his own in the 27th minute and assisted four more, with Bellamy labelling his halfback “untouchable”.

“Harry has been great all year, very consistent and he scored the first two tries,” Bellamy said in the post-match press conference.

“That was really pleasing and then, Hughesy, we just know that when our spines running the ball and (are) involved that we are a better footy team and that has been a part of our inconsistency as well.

“Tonight they ran the ball well, and not just ran the ball to run the ball, it was in the right situations at the right time. I thought all those guys did a really good job.

“Hughesy, his last half-hour of that first half, he was nearly untouchable.”

Bellamy was also asked about Ryan Papenhuyzen’s return, with the star fullback revealing on Twitter midweek he could return to the field before the finals.

“I reckon I’m only a few weeks away now. Good couple of weeks at training. Back into contact, back into everything really,” he wrote.

Papenhuyzen has been sidelined since shattering his kneecap in Round 18 last year and Bellamy made it clear he was be eased back in to the action.

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“I think he will play a game or two at least in Queensland cup, he hasn’t played rugby league for a long time,” Bellamy said.

“He hasn’t played in the NRL so I think he will need some time there to find his feet.

“When that happens, I’m still not 100 per cent sure, but he is certainly getting closer.

“But we haven’t really thought about too much yet because there’s not much use worrying about something that might not happen.”

He also said there were no guarantees Papenhuyzen will feature for the Storm in this year’s finals series.

“We’d love him to be at his best in the finals, but as I said he hasn’t played for 12 months and it was a horrible injury he has come back from,”

“And it’s taken a little bit longer than everyone thought, or the medical team thought so there’s no pressure on him, no pressure on us to pick him.

“We will just see what the couple of weeks brings.”

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