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Papalii, Kangaroo to Raiders' bench

Josh Papalii has found himself dropped from both the Kangaroos and the Raiders' starting side in the space of one game - yet the club has no doubts he'll soon rediscover his devastating form.
Papalii, Kangaroo to Raiders' bench
by AAP

By David Barbeler

CANBERRA, May 7 AAP - Josh Papalii has found himself dropped from both the Kangaroos and the Raiders' starting side in the space of one game - yet the club has no doubts he'll soon rediscover his devastating form.

Having played in last year's World Cup final win over the Kiwis, Papalii was left out of the Anzac Test following the Raiders' last-start 54-18 capitulation to Manly.

He's battled for form this year after missing three weeks with an ankle injury, and the Raiders have dropped him to the bench for Saturday's clash against the Warriors at Eden Park so he can have a more explosive impact.

The move will leave Papalii with an uphill battle to retain his spot in the Maroons squad ahead of their first match against NSW on May 28.

However, Raiders captain Terry Campese is certain he'll rediscover his "devastating" style this weekend.

"He'll come on when players are a little bit tired and create havoc out there," Campese said.

Raiders assistant coach Matt Parish said Papalii had to work on improving his fitness.

"To his credit, he went back and played Queensland Cup last week to get some minutes under his belt," Parish said.

"But at this stage we just don't quite feel that he's got 80 minutes in him."

Parish said the coaching team, which includes new coach Ricky Stuart, felt that dropping Papalii for Country Origin forward Paul Vaughan was the best way to reignite his form.

"Josh is an impact player," he said.

"If we can keep him out of the first 15 minutes, he'll have 65 minutes to finish the game, and that best suits the team."

Papalii will be joined on the bench by representative prop David Shillington, who is also battling to make his way back into the Maroons squad following his axing after game one last year.


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