Josh Papalii is hoping to replicate his dominant performance against Maroons teammate Johnathan Thurston when the Raiders and Cowboys last met.
Watch out JT – Canberra cannonball Josh Papalii might just have you lined up again.
The last time the two Maroons teammates met, Papalii showed scant regard for the world’s best player Johnathan Thurston.
Canberra purposely used 110kg Papalii to target Thurston – 24kg lighter – on North Queensland’s left edge, and the results were spectacular.
Papalii earned man-of-the-match honours with a 158-metre ball-carrying effort – most of them racked up over a hapless Thurston, including a brilliant 30m solo effort.
It was a performance that not only won Canberra the round-17 match but helped launched Papalii’s Origin career.
When asked if he intended to again show Thurston some extra special attention when the two sides meet for their NRL season opener in Townsville on Saturday, a big grin spread over Papalii’s face.
“Ahh, oh it’s not in the game plan, but umm…” Papalii said before catching himself.
“Like I said before we’ll go up as a team and hopefully do well.
“It was just my day on that weekend, hopefully it’s the same this weekend.”
The Raiders forwards will have their work cut out for them however, with frontline props David Shillington and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs out with injuries.
It means 21-year-old Shannon Boyd will face an NRL baptism of fire when he clashes with Kangaroos props James Tamou and Matt Scott.
Fellow Raiders prop Dane Tilse doesn’t think the 122kg giant will have too many problems.
“They might try and target him as a young guy making his debut, but you’ve seen the size of him, I think he’ll be able to handle it,” he said.