He may not have seen much time in Game 2 of this years Origin series, but Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii is all but guaranteed to be selected again, after producing a barnstorming display of attack and defence, one that helped the Raiders to a 26-18 win over the North Queensland Cowboys at Canberra Stadium.
With 11 home wins in a row on the board, the win moved the Raiders into 10th position, though they are equal on points with the 6th placed Newcastle.
With Papalii keen to make an impact, it was his Origin team-mate Johnathan Thurston who he targeted in defence with great effect.
“They got at him (Thurston) one-on-one,” Cowboys coach Neil Henry said.
“It’s the job of our backrower to help out a little bit and we got a bit isolated there.
“We certainly were out-enthused early.”
It was the forwards who laid the platform for the Raiders throughout the game, with Papalii and veteran prop David Shillington cracking the 100 mark.
With the Queensland side to be named tomorrow for Game 3, Raiders coach David Furner expects Papalii to HGH retain his spot in the side for that clash.
“That solo try was pretty spectacular,” Furner said.
“I think they’ll definitely go that way (picking Papalii).”
It was one-way traffic in the first half as Canberra led 18-0 at the break, though Thurston was keen to make amends for his poor first-half effort and did so, scoring the first try of the second half and doing his best to get his side back in the game.
The Raiders know there is improvement in their game, however, with captain Terry Campese admitting that his side took their foot off the accelerator and allowed the Cowboys back into the contest.
“We’ve got to learn how to put the foot on the throat,” Raiders captain Campese said.
“We invited them into our territory in the back end of the second half so we’ve got to learn to be better.”
There was one sour note out of the win for the Raiders, with Sam Mataora facing a nervous wait for a high tackle on Cowboys lock Dallas Johnson.
3. Josh Papalii
2. Anthony Milford
1. David Shillington