He took the spot away from team-mate Bronson Harrison in season 2011, but now, in order to accommodate them both on the field – Raiders coach David Furner has plans to play 19-year old boom second-rower Josh Papalii on the right fringe, with Bronson Harrison on the left fringe.
It was the dynamic power-hole running of Papalii, that was a shining star in an otherwise disappointing Raiders season across the board.
”I know last year I contemplated putting him [Harrison] on the left side,” Furner said yesterday.
”He has a nice left-foot step and strong right shoulder, he looks quite comfortable there which allows Papa [Papalii] on the right-hand side.
”I will be looking at it, and thought he [Harrison] played quite strongly there last week.”
With the dreaded second-year syndrome always a key problem, Furner remains confident that the entire pre-season Papalii has under his belt, will mean he can overcome the syndrome.
”That would be down to poor preparation, but I think he’s had a good preparation so we’re expecting him to grow in that position,” Furner said. ”Certainly I think he’s earned a starting spot there.
”He certainly showed last year, and also this pre-season, how strong he is, and if we can give him some early ball he’s a real handful.
”Whether he can play the full 80 minutes, we’ll see how he goes in the trial.”
Harrison is hoping that with the return of Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese, that he too can return to his solid form of 2010.
‘I think that’s going to be the plan [playing on the left],” Harrison said.
”Papalii’s very strong and is playing well on the right. I’ve grown up playing left and it wasn’t until I got here I switched to the right.
”Playing outside Campo, who’s such a quality player, it takes bit of focus off me.
”He gets more ball that side as well, so we’ll just have to work on that combination and hopefully [I] get a few more tries this year.”