The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Josh Papalii fast-tracked into Origin

Queensland selectors could fast-track raw-boned Canberra wrecking ball Josh Papalii's State of Origin debut amid fears Origin II may turn nasty after Paul Gallen's attack on Nate Myles on Wednesday night.
Josh Papalii fast-tracked into Origin
by AAP

By Wayne Heming

SYDNEY, June 6 AAP - Queensland selectors could fast-track raw-boned Canberra wrecking ball Josh Papalii's State of Origin debut amid fears Origin II may turn nasty after Paul Gallen's attack on Nate Myles on Wednesday night.

NSW skipper Gallen pleaded guilty on Thursday to a grade two striking charge for two big punches to Myles's head which triggered a brawl seconds before halftime.

Rookie NSW coach Laurie Daley and Blues Immortal Andrew Johns defended Gallen's actions immediately after the 14-6 win.

But a number of community action groups were outraged at the message the ugly incident sent to young kids.

Papalii and Brisbane prop Ben Hannant, back from injury against Papalii's NRL club Canberra on Monday, are two players certain to come under notice for game two once selectors review individual performances.

Game one props Matt Scott (10 hit ups, 92 metres) and Dave Shillington (9 hit ups, 52 metres) struggled for metres against Gallen (20 hit ups, 188 metres) and James Tamou (7 hit ups, 52 metres) who dominated the middle, especially in the first half when NSW established a 14-0 lead.

Lock Ashley Harrison made 28 tackles but his 45 metres gained compared to Gold Coast teammate Greg Bird's 113 metres could count against him with selectors searching for more impact and sting - something the 110kg Papalii offers.

Neither Queensland coach Mal Meninga or captain Cameron Smith were talking up changes on Thursday.

"They (players) will all want a second chance and I'll make sure they get that," said Meninga, adding there was probably no place in Origin any more for Gallen's aggressive actions.

With history showing the first game winner has claimed the series 23 times out of 29, Smith called for calm saying there was no need for panic.

"We've done this before (come from 1-0 down 2006 and 2008)," he told AAP.

Daley warned how tough it will be to end Queensland's seven year dominance at a packed Suncorp Stadium.

"They're a different animal back in Brisbane," he warned.

Smith felt Queensland weren't far off the mark and had the team to win in Brisbane if they executed Meninga's game plan better.

"They scored two tries, we scored one. (Dave) Shillington got held up, I got done for a double movement which was very close."

He agreed Papalii wasn't far off making his Origin debut.

"He's a big kid and an aggressive kid whom I think would suit Origin down a tee," he told AAP.

"I don't think he is too far away but I think the team we've got is good enough to beat NSW if we execute our game plan better."

A hot favourite to win hit of the year for his shuddering tackle on Manly's Jamie Buhrer, Papalii watched Wednesday night's Origin from the stand.

The 21 year-old said there were moments when he wanted to jump out of his seat and rip in.

"I was biting through the metal on the seat in front of me just itching to get out there to help the brothers," he told AAP after his first Origin experience as 18th man.

"I was only on the sideline but I was sweating, it felt like I was playing.

"To make my debut at Suncorp Stadium in front of a big crowd would be awesome."




Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories