The buffet at Queensland’s State of Origin III camp was expected to cop a bigger hammering than NSW’s David Klemmer after Josh Papalii’s recall.
However, Maroons teammate Matt Scott says a focused Papalii has shown mercy to their Gold Coast smorgasbord – but asked fans urging the Canberra giant to do the opposite for Klemmer to lay off.
Papalii admits that carbonara pasta with pizza used to be his “go to meal” not so long ago.
However, the Raiders wrecking ball has shown discipline to lose 3kg in recent weeks and earn his first Origin nod since game one last year.
He is now expected to dine out on Blues interchange livewire Klemmer in July 8’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane.
But Scott has urged fans not to put too much pressure on their softly spoken hit man.
“He’s definitely capable of it,” Scott said of Papalii silencing upstart two-gamer Klemmer.
“But we probably shouldn’t put too much expectation on Papa.
“It’s his first game back for a while.
“He’ll have a job to do but it’s not specifically to come in and bash Klemmer.
“He brings his own style of footy to the team.
“I’m really hopeful he gets his head right, knows his role, and comes out and plays well.”
The initial signs are good.
Asked how the buffet had faired since Papalii joined the Origin camp, Scott said: “He’s a lot more professional than I’ve seen over the years.
“He’s doing extras and does watch what he eats.
“Hopefully he has a good week and we see him come out and have an impact on the game.”
Queensland coach Mal Meninga is clearly a believer after recalling Papalii to replace bench forward Josh McGuire (Achilles).
“Josh has lost 3kg in the last few months, because of that he is playing pretty good footy for (Canberra),” Meninga said.
“Josh has got it now. He understands he has to be at a particular (weight) level to play well – that’s why he is back in this team.
“He is a big unit. He has a great physical presence and he is pretty aggressive – he will be an asset for us.”