Recalled Queensland hit man Josh Papalii has up-start NSW forward David Klemmer in his sights.
In fact Papalii admits he loves to watch Klemmer play, describing the Blues brute’s no prisoners approach as “pretty cool”.
Canberra enforcer Papalii has replaced Josh McGuire (Achilles) in a bid to counter the fiery Klemmer’s impact off the NSW bench in July 8’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane.
NSW’s 200cm tearaway Klemmer has got under the skin of Queensland’s pack, most notably lock Corey Parker in heated scenes in Origin II.
However, 110kg battering ram Papalii sounded like a fan when asked if he respected fellow hit man Klemmer’s fearlessness.
“It is pretty cool to watch and he is definitely suited to Origin, that’s for sure,” a gushing Papalii said of Klemmer.
“I played with him in the Aussie team and for someone to be that big and that young it just shows his class … the way he plays.
“He’s killing it at the moment and he’s exciting to watch.”
Meninga will demand a very different mindset from Papalii in Origin III.
“I just want Josh to play aggressive rugby league and make a difference when he comes on the field,” Meninga said.
Papalii played the last of his three Origins in the first game last year and his experience edged out Sydney Roosters’ Dylan Napa and Newcastle’s Korbin Sims.
“Josh Papalii was an easy one to be honest,” Meninga said of selecting Papalii as a bench forward.
“He’s got experience and been playing good footy at the moment.
“He’s been part of our system for a number of years.
“He will handle it. We know what Josh brings to the table.”
And so does NSW skipper Paul Gallen.
Papalii hunted Gallen in a 2012 NRL finals clash, prompting the Cronulla captain to later accuse the Raiders forward of a “dog shot”.
But Papalii seemed surprised the incident was mentioned after being unveiled in the game three team.
“That game was three years ago and ever since that game we’ve played together and played against each other and nothing else has happened, so it’s just a game of footy for us,” he said.
However, Papalii admitted shutting down Gallen was still the key to stopping NSW.
“When he came back (for NSW) in the second game … it showed having him in the team is an advantage,” he said of NSW’s 26-18 Origin II win over Queensland.