Ryan Papenhuyzen concedes he might not regain Melbourne's No.1 jersey from Nicho Hynes this season as he eases into his NRL return from a nasty concussion.
The Storm's superstar fullback signed a three-year contract extension on Friday just days after the club confirmed Craig Bellamy was staying on for a further five seasons.
After months of negotiations, the news comes as he prepares for his 50th NRL game in Saturday's grand final rematch with Penrith.
The 23-year-old is just one game back from a horrendous head knock he copped in round 10 and says he's being patient as he builds into the hot form he showed before he was injured in round 10.
And if that means playing out the season from the bench, then so be it, with Cronulla-bound Hynes starring at fullback.
"Everything happens for a reason. Nicho's been playing well and he deserves to be able to play at fullback. I can come on and I have the mindset that I can be effective," Papenhuyzen said on Friday.
"At the end of the day, it's whatever works best for the team. If that's me off the bench or at fullback then that's what it is."
His 30-minute return against North Queensland and a contract extension follows months of a frustrating recovery for one of the brightest young talents in the game.
However, he says he has no ill-feeling towards St George Illawarra's Tyrell Fuimaono whose high shot left him prone.
Fuimaono was sent off and copped a five-week suspension for the hit and Papenhuyzen is happy to leave it at that.
"There's no hard feelings towards Tyrell, it was just an unfortunate incident," he said.
"I've learned lessons along the way. I've learned to deal with an injury; I've learned a whole lot more about the injury too.
"My lesson from that is if I can share my story and hopefully encourage other people who are going through a tough situation to come out the other side and be positive about it, then that's my lesson I want to be able to teach."
Earlier this week Bellamy signed a five-year contract to stay with Melbourne and confirmed he will be head coach until at least the end of next year.
With the Storm chasing back-to-back premierships this season, Papenhuyzen said knowing Bellamy was staying at the club helped him make his own decision.
"For him to come out and say he's sticking around for another five seasons made me more excited to sign on, but there's going to be a few more tough pre-seasons to come after that," he said.
Australian Associated Press