Raiders prop Josh Papalii has revealed how he and lock Joseph Tapine had taken on leadership roles within the team after a mid-season meeting with coach Ricky Stuart in the wake of the club's forward injury crisis.
Papalii and Tapine led the way in Friday night's gripping 22-18 defeat of Sydney Roosters as the Raiders moved to within one win of a second consecutive grand final, despite the loss of star hooker Josh Hodgson and a number of key middle forwards.
Corey Horsburgh has not played since round seven, Emre Guler and Iosia Soliola suffered serious injuries a week later and Hodgson's season ended after he ruptured his ACL in round nine. But Papalii and Tapine stepped up to help prevent the derailment of Canberra's premiership campaign.
"Ricky brought me and Taps into his office, and just said with all the middles going down it was important for me and Taps to take charge," Papalii said.
"I just try and lead the forward pack the way I should and the boys jump on the wagon and follow. Also, speaking up in meetings. That has been important to me and helped me develop into a better leader."