Papenhuyzen makes winning return from injury for Storm

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Ryan Papenhuyzen had the Melbourne faithful on their feet long before the Storm secured a 37-16 win over Gold Coast, with the star fullback returning to NRL action after more than 400 days.

Shattering his knee-cap in round 18 last season, Papenhuyzen ran on to AAMI Park midway through the second half of the Saturday afternoon clash and was greeted by a roar from the crowd.

"I came to watch a few of the Matildas games here and that was loud, but this was outstanding so massive thank you to everyone who came out today," Papenhuyzen told Fox Sports.

"It's great to be back ... (the injury rehab) had its setbacks and as I got closer toward it it got further away and I had to hang in there but it's definitely worth it.

"All those dark days, just running back out here at AAMI Park with a team like this, I'm lucky to be back playing."

With Nick Meaney remaining at fullback, Papenhuyzen was given a licence to roam and immediately got involved as his team looked to extend their two-point lead.

His quick play-the-ball helped put Melbourne on the front foot with skipper Christian Welch crashing over the line for a try to move ahead 24-16.

The re-energised hosts put the result out of question soon after when Eliesa Katoa dived on a Harry Grant grubber before winger Xavier Coates capped off his hat-trick of tries.

The win kept Melbourne in fourth spot on the ladder with one round to play before finals.

However the celebrations were dampened with halfback Jahrome Hughes limping off late in the match and later appearing in a knee brace.

The initial diagnosis was a slight medial strain, ruling him out of Thursday night's clash with Brisbane.

Coach Craig Bellamy would also have some concerns with his defence with the 13th-ranked Titans twice out-flanking the Storm to score through Brian Kelly and Jojo Fifita.

"Our performance was a bit mixed - as soon as they got down in our 20m zone in the first half, they were there twice and they scored two tries so we weren't overly happy with that," Bellamy said.

"We made a couple of mistakes in the second half, we threw the ball away ... it was like we were looking for a short cut but I was happy with the way we steadied the ship."

Titans stand-in coach Jim Lenihan said he was proud of his team's effort, given they had little on the line.

He was upset they didn't earn a penalty for a high shot by Papenhuyzen on playmaker Kieran Foran, who was forced off for a HIA with 12 minutes to play.

"Right up until Kieran got asked to leave we were well and truly in the game," Lenihan said.

"I'm baffled how we don't get the penalty for Kieran getting hit in the head yet the doctor takes him off for being hit in the head.

"We deserved a penalty and then we lose out best ball-player for the rest of the game."