Josh Papalii of the Raiders scores a try.
Josh Papalii of the Raiders scores a try.

Papalii admits: Stuart was right to drop me

JOSH Papalii concedes coach Ricky Stuart made the right decision to drop back him to reserve grade as Canberra try to turn their season around.

Papalii and playmaker Blake Austin were the men made to pay for the Raiders' worst start to a season in 21 years, dropped back this month to play for Mounties in the NSW Cup.

Both are back in the Raiders' first-grade side after respective one-week absences, Austin courtesy of an injury to Sam Williams and Papalii following a recall against Parramatta last week.

But despite being a Queensland State of Origin representative or the past five years, Papalii conceded his poor start to the year warranted a demotion.

"I probably agreed with Ricky on the call to drop me back," Papalii said on Monday.

"I just copped it on the chin like most players would. Sticky said I wasn't in form and dropped me back for one week. It didn't hurt.

 

"I've been in these shoes before. I got dropped back to Souths Logan back in the day.

"Sometimes to try and get that spark you need to take a few steps backwards and come back a better player."

Papalii played in the middle in his outing on for Mounties and also figured there off the bench for the Raiders last weekend.

Whether he returns to the edge is unclear but Stuart appears unlikely to make changes after the Raiders won their past two games to climb back to 13th on the ladder.


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