Topic: Josh Papalii  

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Archie

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2012, 01:42:20 PM »
Great news for the big guy he is going so well at the moment it would have been a real shame if he had to sit out for so long. Hopefully he can be right for the Bunnies game!

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2012, 07:36:09 PM »
Papalii retains hope for Raiders

Canberra forward Josh Papalii is confident the Raiders can take the first step to turning their season around against the South Sydney Rabbitohs next Friday.

Papalii is expected to miss the ANZ Stadium encounter with nerve damage in his arm, but could be back for the following week’s match after the hard-hitting second-rower was cleared of a suspected broken arm.

‘‘It’s a pretty good result, just have to see how it goes in the gym and the field,’’ Papalii said.

‘‘I’ve been getting jokes from the boys about coming off from a bruised arm.

‘‘I know that they’ll do the job without me and hopefully we can turn our season around.’’

Papalii wasn’t the only first-grade regular watching on from the sidelines at this morning’s chilly training session at the West Belconnen Leagues Club, with centre Jack Wighton rested as a precaution with a sore ankle.

Papalii left the field in the second half of the Raiders’ 40-34 win against the Parramatta Eels at Canberra Stadium last weekend.

The Raiders are 13th on the ladder with four wins from 10 games and have the bye this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Raiders have confirmed they will stage a trial game in Goulburn next year to celebrate the town’s 150th anniversary.

The Raiders will take on the Canterbury Bulldogs in Goulburn before rounding out their pre-season fixtures with a match against the Melbourne Storm in Bega.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2012, 10:44:13 PM »
Parents key for Papalii

Not many 20-year-olds enjoy the prospect of moving back in with their parents, but Raiders hitman Josh Papalii reckons having his Brisbane-based family relocate to Canberra has played a crucial role in his on-field success.

Just one of three Raiders players to have featured in every game this season, Papalii has cemented his spot in the second-row and is looming as a bolter for the New Zealand team for the end of season Test against the Kangaroos.

Before then, he will return to the city of his birth when the Raiders head across the ditch to face the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on Sunday.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/parents-key-for-papalii-20120830-2539m.html#ixzz2525hQ2on

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2012, 12:24:20 PM »
Enforcer's wick lit for Dave Taylor

HE is already being compared with legendary New Zealand enforcer Ruben Wiki but Josh Papalii was warned yesterday that his hitman tactics could come back to haunt him if he tries to muscle up on Dave Taylor on Saturday night.

Only last Sunday Papalii carved a reputation for himself in this year's finals series after being asked by Canberra coach David Furner to do a number on Cronulla captain Paul Gallen.

The Raiders backrower responded with a performance that clearly got under Gallen's skin. The Sharks lock accused Papalii of a "dog shot" for hitting him with a swinging arm and at one stage told the match officials he planned to get him back.

Papalii will head to Sydney on Saturday night for the Raiders' semi-final against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium and Rabbitohs players said yesterday they were expecting him to go after Taylor.

"I only saw the highlights on Fox News but it's finals football and you've got to do whatever you can to try to win a game," Souths prop Roy Asotasi said.

"The Canberra Raiders felt if they could try and get Paul Gallen off his game then it could change things around and it probably worked for them.

"I think he'll be up against Dave Taylor and Dave Taylor has got a lot to prove this week also.

"Josh has been an up-and-coming player and he's very strong.

"He reminds me of Ruben Wiki back in his day."

Taylor was maligned for his ill-disciplined performance against Melbourne in last Saturday night's qualifying final after giving away three penalties in the Rabbitohs' 24-6 loss.

Souths prop Sam Burgess said he was confident Taylor would keep his cool and would handle anything Papalii threw at him.

"I'll enjoy being on the field if that's going on and watching it," Burgess said.

"Gallen's a true warrior of the game and I thought Papalii is a young, strong kid who rattled him a bit. I thought he did well. But Dave's a big boy. He'll be all right. He'll look after himself."

Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis yesterday struggled to talk because of a raspy throat but said he was in no danger of missing Saturday night's do-or-die game against the Raiders. The winner faces Canterbury with a grand-final berth at stake, while the loser bows out.

Inglis said the team was disappointed with its effort against the Storm and was desperate to make amends against the Raiders. Souths finished the season third and this year's finals series has been its first since 2007.

"We knew we didn't turn up and the performance we did wasn't acceptable," Inglis said.

"I don't think it was stage fright.

"I think everyone was excited and I don't think it was nerves (that costs us)."

Burgess added the players would consider their season a failure if they were bundled out by losing two in succession.

"No one wants to lose two in a row in the finals," he said.

"Everyone wants to go as far as they can. It's do-or-die time."

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/enforcers-wick-lit-for-dave-taylor/story-fnca0von-1226472967896

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2012, 12:22:09 PM »
Raiders captain David Shillington says Josh Papalii is ready for Rabbitohs



CANBERRA captain David Shillington says youngster Josh Papalii doesn't need any advice on how to handle his new status as NRL hit-man and says the 20-year-old wrecking ball is an inspiration for the Raiders.

After outgunning Paul Gallen last week, Papalii is sizing up South Sydney monster Dave Taylor in Saturday's do-or-die NRL semi-final against the Rabbitohs in Sydney.

Skipper Shillington says the 20-year-old second rower was an inspiration to his teammates in their elimination final victory over Cronulla, launching a successful demolition job on the Sharks skipper, who resorted to griping with the refs over his treatment.

Against the Rabbitohs on Saturday the task will be big again, but Shillington believes his softly spoken teammate showed last weekend that he knows what it takes to win a one-on-one battle.

Papalii is already drawing comparisons with Canberra and New Zealand great Ruben Wiki, but Shillington isn't concerned the Auckland-born second rower will be affected by the hype.

"He probably doesn't need words of encouragement anymore, Joshy," Shillington said.

"I found him inspirational out there.

"He challenged the opposition and got the better of them.

"I know he'll get a lot of belief and confidence out of that."

Queensland Origin star Taylor leads the NRL for line breaks and tackle breaks, but Papalii also features in the top 10 in both statistical categories.

Taylor ran riot over the Raiders the last time they played in May - also at ANZ Stadium - scoring two tries, as did star fullback Greg Inglis, in a 36-18 thumping.

Targeting the duo will be key to going another week into the finals race.

"Dave Taylor's pretty hard to stop," Shillington said.

"If he's not running over the top of people, he's putting over the chip kicks.

"So hopefully Joshy puts his shoulder in there."

Shillington said it was a huge boon for the club that their youngsters had stood up when it counted, with halfback Sam Williams also delivering one of his best games of the season against the Sharks.

According to the bookies, the Rabbitohs head in as $1.43 favourites over the Raiders, despite last week's heavy qualifying final loss to Melbourne and a 25-year drought of finals success.

But Shillington backed the bookies' take on things, arguing Canberra, who've lost centre and goalkicker Jarrod Croker to a fractured cheekbone, have much to improve on before the Souths clash.

"We were lucky we got away with (the Cronulla win) in a way," he said.

"We turned over some ball in our half and our defence was sloppy at times.

"At the moment I still feel under a lot of pressure to lift our game.

"But if we can fix up a few things from the weekend and have a win, then I'll start getting a bit more excited."

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/raiders-captain-david-shillington-says-josh-papalii-is-ready-for-rabbitohs/story-e6frep5x-1226473284956

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2012, 12:43:31 PM »
Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga aiming to poach Josh Papalii from Kiwis



QUEENSLAND, the state which has made an artform of Origin theft, is at it again - this time putting a stocking on both heads in an attempt to steal boom Junior Kiwi Josh Papalii.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Auckland-born Papalii, the 20-year-old Canberra enforcer who made headlines for rattling NSW skipper Paul Gallen in week one of the NRL playoffs, is now under special protection from the NZRL, which fears him being targeted by Queensland coach Mal Meninga.

Kiwi officials are well aware Meninga, a Canberra legend who still works with the club in a consultancy role, has spent two years trying to woo the young Raider who moved to Queensland while in primary school.

While Papalii has already pledged allegiance, both verbally and in writing, to his country of birth, NZRL CEO Jim Doyle remains wary of a Maroons outfit that has previously taken delight in stealing countrymen like Tonie Carroll, Brad Thorn, Karmichael Hunt and, most recently, Ben Te'o.

"Josh was born in New Zealand, played Junior Kiwis and has publicly committed to us," Doyle told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

"But would I put it past the Queenslanders having another crack at him? No, I would not.

"They may come out now and say publicly that they're not interested. But we know Mal has already spoken with Josh. So, right now, we're remaining cautious. We stay in regular contact with him and have a number of plans in place to ensure he remains with New Zealand. We've also said that, in terms of our Test against Australia at the end of the year, he's right up there in our plans."

When asked in March about having Papalii align himself with Queensland, Meninga said: "I've been into him for about 12 months and he won't change his mind. Every time I get an opportunity I mention it to him and every opportunity I have mentioned it to him he has always shaken his head saying, 'No, I am available for New Zealand'."

The Kiwi boss revealed that should Big Mal wish to steal Papalii, he would now have to get past iconic Test retiree Ruben Wiki.

"As our high-performance manager, Ruben is in contact with Josh regularly," Doyle said of the bookend. "It's a big part of us ensuring he keeps his Kiwi heart."

An anonymous Toyota Cup player only last season, Papalii is now drawing comparisons with Wiki thanks to a barnstorming back half of the season - including an intense battle in last weekend's win over Cronulla, when he continually hunted down Paul Gallen.

Gallen reacted badly to twice being hit by the aggressive Raider, afterwards describing one of the tackles as a "dog shot".

But rather than react, Papalii is simply moving on to his next task in the finals series - stopping the South Sydney wrecking ball that is Dave Taylor.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/nrl/queensland-origin-coach-mal-meninga-aiming-to-poach-josh-papalii-from-kiwis/story-e6frfgbo-1226473736090

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2012, 12:46:08 PM »
Again as a Blues fan I hope the Kiwis can keep Paps! NSW would be stuffed if he was to play like that in an Origin and destroy Gallen. As much as I loved to see it, would be great if he can save it for when he is playing for our mighty Raiders, the Blues have enough problems without having to deal with a gun like Paps.

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2012, 02:45:51 PM »
Decision on new salary cap delays Canberra's attempt to keep Josh Papalii



CANBERRA is being thwarted in its attempts to extend the contract of boom backrower Josh Papalii because of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the game's next salary cap.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner revealed yesterday that talks with Papalii had been put on hold more than two months ago because his management team wanted to see how the next media rights deal would affect the cap.

The ARL Commission announced last month it had secured a $1.025 billion deal with the Nine Network and Fox Sports, but clubs are still waiting to find out just how much of that revenue will be passed on to the salary cap and their annual grant.

As it stands, the grant is $4.85 million and the cap $4.3m. Clubs hope the grant will rise to $6m next year and have been told to operate as if the cap will be $5m. That doesn't help the Raiders, who want to extend Papalii's deal until the end of 2015.

"The last discussion I had with him and his manager is that they were looking at an upgrade and extension but they just wanted to see where the salary cap was going to be," Furner said.

"I said to them, 'That could take months' and it has taken months. We're still a month at least from knowing what the salary cap is going to be. We need to know what we've got to spend and his management quite rightly is holding off to see what we can spend because he's waiting to see what the rise will go to."

Papalii, 20, is one of the hottest properties in the game and is being courted by both New Zealand and Queensland for representative honours. If he is selected to play for the Kiwis for next month's Test match in Townsville, his market value will only increase.

He made headlines in last Sunday's qualifying final against Cronulla after being asked by Raiders coach David Furner to target NSW State of Origin and Sharks captain Paul Gallen. The tactics clearly worked, with the Raiders winning the game and Papalii getting the better of Gallen.

South Sydney players are bracing themselves for Papalii _ who earlier this week was compared with former Kiwi enforcer Ruben Wiki _ to perform a similar role in tonight's sudden-death semi-final at Allianz Stadium, with Dave Taylor his expected target.

Furner is part of a sub-committee charged with working on the game's next collective bargaining agreement, which will incorporate the cap. The current CBA expires on October 31, leaving officials less than two months to have something in place.

The Canberra chief executive refused to criticise the commission over the time it is taking to determine the crunch issues confronting the game, including the cap, grant and season draw, but a number of club bosses are frustrated.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/decision-on-new-salary-cap-delays-canberras-attempt-to-keep-josh-papalii/story-fnca0von-1226474505648

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2012, 12:47:04 PM »
League: Trio added to Kiwis squad

Josh Papalii, Jason Taumalolo and Antonio Winterstein have been added to the Kiwis' train-on squad to prepare for the test against the Kangaroos in Townsville on October 13.

Papalii, who will look to make his Kiwi debut, is from the Canberra Raiders, while Taumalolo and Winterstein are from the North Queensland Cowboys. Both clubs were knocked out of the NRL finals at the weekend.

Taumalolo and Winterstein have been part of previous Kiwis squads, with Taumalolo 19th man for the test in April which was won by Australia. Ricky Thorby, also from the Cowboys, was unavailable due to a hip injury that requires surgery.

National selectors Richie Barnett, Tony Iro, Stephen Kearney and Tawera Nikau will add to the squad over the next two weeks following the last two weekends of the NRL finals.

Kiwis squad: Gerard Beale, Josh Hoffman (Brisbane Broncos); Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders); Jeremy Smith (Cronulla Sharks); Jason Taumalolo, Antonio Winterstein (North Queensland Cowboys); Sam McKendry (Penrith Panthers); Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters); Ben Henry, Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering, Alehana Mara, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Manu Vatuvei (NZ Warriors); Adam Blair, Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers).

Unavailable: Alex Glenn, Brisbane Broncos, (knee surgery); Ricky Thorby, North Queensland Cowboys, (hip surgery); Nathan Fien (retired), Jason Nightingale, both St George Illawarra Dragons, (knee surgery); Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sydney Roosters, (thigh surgery); Kevin Locke, NZ Warriors, (high ankle sprain).

Source: http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/league/226562/league-trio-added-kiwis-squad

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2012, 11:41:21 AM »
Representative tug-of-war: Papalii to choose between Kiwis and Queensland



Canberra Raiders backrower Josh Papalii has requested more time to decide his representative future despite being named this morning in the New Zealand train-on squad for next month's Test against Australia in Townsville.

The 20-year-old is the subject of a tug-of-war between New Zealand, the country of his birth, and Queensland where he played his junior football from primary school onwards.

Papalii has previously turned down approaches from Maroons coach Mal Meninga and has pledged his allegiance to New Zealand.

But Queensland has continued its campaign to lure the hard-hitting backrower to State of Origin.

The Canberra Times understands Papalii met with Raiders chief executive Don Furner this morning and is now contemplating an ultimatum after being named in New Zealand's train-on squad.

Papalii is understood to be seeking the advice of his parents, who moved to Canberra this year to support him.

Papalii is yet to make his senior representative debut, but represented the Junior Kiwis last year and was a Queensland Under 18s representative.

Although he still qualifies for the Under 20s competition, Papalii has now played two NRL seasons with the Raiders and shot to prominence with his dominant performance over NSW skipper Paul Gallen in the first week of the finals.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/canberra-raiders/representative-tugofwar-papalii-to-choose-between-kiwis-and-queensland-20120919-265uc.html#ixzz26yCJrS6p

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2012, 11:36:57 AM »
Papalii a Kiwi, and here's the evidence



This is the document which proves Josh Papalii's long-term ambition to play for New Zealand.

And New Zealand Rugby League high-performance manager Tony Kemp remains confident Papalii will stay true to his word, despite the Raiders back-rower requesting more time to decide his international future.

Papalii signed a letter of intent from the New Zealand Rugby League over a year ago, when told he would be selected in their Four Nations train-on squad. The letter is not a legally-binding contract.



On Wednesday, the 20-year-old was named in the Kiwis' train-on squad for next month's Test against Australia in April, but the State of Origin lure is proving hard to resist.

He is expected to make a final decision by the end of this week after further talks with Queensland coach Mal Meninga, New Zealand representatives and his family.

Auckland-born Papalii moved to Brisbane as a youngster, and has played for both the Queensland under-18 side and the Junior Kiwis.
Josh Papalii playing for the Queensland under 18s in 2010.



Still seething at James Tamou's decision to defect to NSW, Kemp believes the international game is in danger of becoming extinct unless Test match player payments are lifted to compete with State of Origin.

It has been reported Origin players could demand up to $50,000 per game from next season after the NRL signed off on a $1.025 billion media rights deal.

Kemp is adamant the Australian Rugby League Commission should consider increasing Test match payments to prevent more New Zealanders defecting to State of Origin.

New Zealand received some good news yesterday, with Canterbury prop Sam Kasiano ignoring Queensland's advances and pledging his allegiance to the Kiwis.

''The international game will die. We can't compete with $50,000 payments for blokes,'' Kemp said.

''Every kid in Australia, whether they're Kiwi or from bloody Timbuktu will want to play State of Origin,'' Kemp said.

''The ARLC and NRL are very supportive of upping the ante for international payments, and I think it's a very good argument. It's not cap in hand, it needs to happen. You've got guys from all over the world playing, yet they can't play State of Origin.

''They [Origin players] are the ones who reap all the rewards, and that's unfair.''

Kemp accused Queensland of ''confusing'' young New Zealand players including Papalii, who has built a huge reputation with a fine second NRL season with the Raiders.

''A kid tells you he wants to play for New Zealand, then if they continually just chip away at him, eventually he starts to get confused and thinks, 'what am I doing'?

''It's not their fault, they're young men who are being enticed by a bit of romance.

''That's not actually State of Origin, it becomes an All Star game and Arthur Beetson would be rolling in his grave. It's detrimental to the international game. You're going to end up with an AFL model where you just play state and there'll be no internationals.''

Kemp's mood would not have improved after learning this week star Raiders teenager Anthony Milford has committed to the Maroons.

The 18-year-old, brilliant at Toyota Cup level this year, officially decided on Wednesday to pledge his allegiance to Queensland.

The Canberra Times understands Milford was a certain selection in the Junior Kiwis side to play Australia in Townsville next month.

The Brisbane-born playmaker has spent most of his life in Queensland, bar two years in the Auckland suburb of Avondale.

Raiders Toyota Cup coach Andrew Dunemann yesterday backed Milford's decision as the right one.

''He's played all his junior footy for Queensland, so it just makes sense he aligns himself with Queensland,'' Dunemann said.

''Queensland has invested in him and spent a lot of money bringing him through, for me he's made the right decision.''

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/papalii-a-kiwi-and-heres-the-evidence-20120920-269q0.html#ixzz2741av6w1

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2012, 10:35:56 PM »
Papalii set to ditch New Zealand for Maroons



Queensland has firmed as favourite to beat New Zealand in their battle over Josh Papalii, with the Canberra Raiders star tipped to pledge his allegiance to the Maroons as soon as today.

Sources close to Papalii said yesterday their gut feel was the back rower will side with Queensland, despite being named in New Zealand's train-on squad for next month's Test against Australia in Townsville.

Having established himself as one of the best young forwards in the game this year, Papalii has agonised over the decision the past few days.

The 20-year-old was born in Auckland, but played all his junior football with Souths Logan, traditionally a fertile breeding ground for the Raiders.

Raiders boss Don Furner met with Papalii on Thursday last week, and the club is looking to extend his current contract which expires at the end of next year.

''He didn't leave [New Zealand] at 16 like a Benji Marshall or a [Sam] Kasiano, he left at six,'' Furner said.

''He didn't even know what rugby league was when he went to Souths Logan, he wanted to play rugby union, but the closest club played rugby league.''

''The reality is if he stayed in New Zealand, he probably would have played rugby union.''

Papalii's boyhood idol is Ruben Wiki, and the New Zealand and Raiders great has forged a strong bond with Papalii.

But he also grew up idolising Queensland's Origin stars, including current coach Mal Meninga.

Meanwhile, Canberra's Toyota Cup side received a massive boost ahead of Sunday's grand final against West Tigers, with prop Shannon Boyd avoiding suspension for a high tackle.

The 125kg giant was placed on report for a careless high tackle on Dragons halfback Jared Allen in the Raiders' 44-16 preliminary final win on Sunday.

Boyd has 27 carryover points, but his early guilty plea and subsequent 67-point penalty means he hasn't accrued the 100 points required for a one-game suspension.

The Cowra junior was influential in Sunday's win, and coach Andrew Dunemann said his presence is crucial if the Tigers attempt to beat the Raiders up the middle as expected.

''It might be the biggest game he ever gets to play in, it was the right decision,'' Dunemann said yesterday.

''He [Allen] got straight up and played the ball after it, I think he just laid down to get the penalty to be honest.

''Obviously the people who do the review understand it's a grand final, they take that into consideration and use a common sense approach I think.''

The Raiders have been beaten convincingly twice by the Tigers this year, and Dunemann placed the onus on the forwards to set the platform again.

Canberra is searching for its second Toyota Cup title after it won the 2008 premiership in the competition's inaugural season.

''That's what it comes down to, if we hold our own in the middle we've got some good attack on the edges,'' Dunemann said.

''We don't have the attacking flair in the middle that other teams have, but we've got some grafters and grindes who turn up and do the job.

''Boydy's been a massive part of our team, him and [fellow starting prop] Jeff Lynch have been outstanding for us all year.''

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/7719271/Papalii-set-to-ditch-New-Zealand-for-Maroons

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2012, 02:46:23 PM »
Papalii pledges allegiance to Australia and Queensland



Raiders forward Josh Papalii has clarified his position in regards to future representative honours, by nominating Australia as his choice of representative nation, making him eligible to play for Queensland and Australia from 2013.

Papalii made his decision based on where he felt he had the most allegiance to in regards to his football career, after playing all of his junior football in Queensland.

Arriving in Australia in aged 6, Papalii played all of his junior Rugby League from under 7’s for the Logan Brothers and Souths Logan clubs in Brisbane, before moving to Canberra in 2010 to play SG Ball for the Canberra Raiders.

In 2009 Papalii represented Queensland at under 18 level and has also represented Queensland as a schoolboy.

Papalii did represent the junior Kiwis in 2011 and had previously declared an intention to play for New Zealand at test level, however he has decided to pledge his allegiance to Australia, the Country he has spent most of his life and played his entire rugby league career.

The decision for Papalii was a tough one and he said the advice from his family had helped him come to his decision.

“Family is very important for me and my family has helped me over the past few days to make the decision to make myself available for Australia and Queensland,” Papalii said. “I’ve lived most of my life in Queensland and played all of my junior football in Australia and if I ever get the chance to play for the Maroons or Kangaroos I would be very proud.

“I played for the junior Kiwis last year and feel very humbled to have the chance to play for them, but in the end I knew in my heart that I want to play for where I grew up and have had so many wonderful memories.”

Source: Raiders Press Release

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2012, 02:47:43 PM »
Ok looking forward to seeing him in Origin as a Raiders fan, but as a NSW fan this really is bad news! lol look out Gallen! Gotta feel a bit sorry for the Kiwis tho he would have been great for them.

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Re: Josh Papalii
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2012, 07:12:17 PM »
Tears tell tale of a man made for the Maroons



Josh Papalii used to cry every time Queensland lost a State of Origin match.

That's right, the Canberra Raiders rising star with a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the NRL couldn't stop shedding tears when the Maroons lost to NSW and he was a kid growing up in Queensland.

Now he wants to join the Maroons and help them continue seven years of dominance after pledging his representative commitment to Queensland yesterday.

Unfazed by the ongoing international battle New Zealand is fighting to keep its young players out of State of Origin, Papalii said opting to try to chase a spot in the Maroons was ''the right decision''.

Born in New Zealand and raised in Brisbane, Papalii had to choose who he would prefer to represent.

There's no doubt the financial benefit would have weighed heavily on his mind with State of Origin players set to pocket up to $50,000 a game while New Zealand players are paid $5000 per match.

Papalii admitted rugby league was a business and he wanted to look after his family.

And after spending his junior rugby league days with Souths Logan and rising through the ranks in Queensland, Papalii was at peace with his decision to align with the Maroons.

''As a family, we made a call that I would go with Queensland,'' Papalii said.

''You can't always make everyone happy … I would have loved to do both but you can't have two separate lives.

''I've got the passion to play for Queensland, I've always wanted to play, I always cried if they lost and it's always been a passion of mine to try to get there.

''New Zealand is still in my mind, but I've been in Queensland since I was young.''

Despite being a powerhouse and fearless on the field, Papalii is shy and quiet off it.

At 20 years old, he could still be playing in the under-20s competition with the Raiders in the grand final on Sunday.

But his hard work and powerful defence have cemented his place in Canberra's NRL side.

The second-rower was nonchalant about all the fuss.

Instead of getting caught in the hype, Papalii quietly spoke with his family and influential rugby league figures to make the right choice.

In fact, he said watching his diet to stay at his NRL playing weight was more of a distraction than the off-field saga and tug of war.

''I don't know how I'll feel [if I ever have to play against New Zealand],'' Papalii said.

''I thought it was the right thing to do, play for Queensland. I look at this as a challenge.''

Papalii is close to signing a new deal with the Raiders to keep him beyond the end of next season, saying he was ''almost 100 per cent'' ready for it to be finalised.

The Raiders are also working on contract negotiations with Sandor Earl and Shaun Berrigan.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/tears-tell-tale-of-a-man-made-for-the-maroons-20120924-26hse.html#ixzz27TGFLuWH