Whether it’s flattening David Klemmer or resuming hostilities with Paul Gallen, Queensland wrecking ball Josh Papalii says he’s ready to do whatever is needed to deliver victory in next week’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane.
The Canberra cannonball has been recalled to the Maroons squad in what many feel is a response to NSW’s pack outmuscling the Maroons in game two, with second-gamer Klemmer particularly dominant.
Papalii says he’s yet to clarify with coach Mal Meninga just what his role will be.
Outspoken Canterbury giant Klemmer got under the feathers of Queensland’s pack at the MCG as the Blues claimed victory and it’s believed Papalii’s aggression will be used to match fire-with-fire.
Papalii also has a history with Blues skipper Gallen, who famously accused him of a “dog shot” during a fiery encounter between the Raiders and Cronulla in 2012.
Despite the anticipation of Papalii being sent on to crash into the Blues’ forwards, the man himself says he can’t just charge in headlong and needs to pick his moments.
“Sometimes you get mistaken trying to go for a big shot or a big play and it doesn’t come off and that’s pretty costly,” Papalii told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m there to hopefully help the team out and hopefully I can do that.
“I don’t think anyone goes out there to deliberately KO someone. You just go out there and do your job. Some people are skilful and some people are more aggressive and you’ve just got to go out there and play your footy.”
Papalii is just one of three Queensland players battling niggling injuries as they entered their pre-Origin camp on the Gold Coast on Wednesday.
He says a knee niggle which prevented him travelling to Tuesday’s fan day in the regional town of Proserpine wouldn’t cause him any further issues.
Winger Darius Boyd (groin) has also dismissed his injury concerns, saying he’s confident he’ll be running at full speed by the end of the week.
Prop Matt Scott (neck) also joined his teammates for a swim and yoga session at Sanctuary Cove Resort on Wednesday after missing the trip to Proserpine.
In and out of the Origin setup since his debut in 2013, Papalii admits he didn’t deserve to be included in the squad at the start of the series due to self-described “terrible” club form and he’s now desperate to repay the faith of selectors after being called in to replace injured Josh McGuire.
“I wasn’t playing the best and I sort of had a feeling that the selectors wouldn’t pick me,” Papalii said.
“If I was a selector I wouldn’t have picked myself.
“When I made my debut it was the second game and we had to win that one. I didn’t want to come in and wreck an eight-series winning run. I’ve played in a decider before but this one seems to be a lot bigger.”