Ryan Papenhuyzen Reveals Inspirational Letter from Billy Slater

During a compelling episode of The Howie Games podcast, Melbourne Storm’s dynamo fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen shared an intimate glimpse into the motivational forces behind his stellar performance in the 2020 NRL Grand Final. The source of inspiration? A poignant letter from rugby league icon Billy Slater, which he received on the eve of the monumental game.

This letter wasn’t just any message; it was a heartfelt note from a mentor who significantly shaped Papenhuyzen’s career.

Howie and Papenhuyzen discuss the deep-rooted connection between Papenhuyzen and Slater, which traced back to the earliest days of his career. From the initial phone call welcoming him to Melbourne, presenting him with his debut jersey, and then, writing a letter that Papenhuyzen still  treasures. “Now it’s the guy who’s writing me on Grand Final Eve… it was one of those cool moments,” Papenhuyzen reflected on the podcast.

Slater’s letter urged Papenhuyzen to have confidence in his hard work and his teammates, encapsulating a powerful vote of confidence from a legend of the sport.

“Back yourself, you’ve done all the hard work… Don’t think too hard about it. Go out there and kill it,” Slater wrote, as recounted by Papenhuyzen. This message of belief and assurance visibly moved Papenhuyzen, who acknowledged the emotional and motivational impact it had on him leading into the game.

Through his discussion with Howie, Papenhuyzen expressed how Slater’s mentorship has been instrumental not only during the highs of winning the Grand Final but throughout his entire career, including navigating through injury challenges.