Josh Papalii

Fairytale that became a nightmare

It’s a move which has the potential to reverberate across the international game like Jason Taumalolo’s switch to Tonga.

The problem is, Papalii doesn’t have a Samoan team he wants to go back to.

“100 per cent I would [return for Samoa over Australia],” he tells foxsports.com.au.

Papalii draws on hard times

They finished 15th that season - Papalii's first in the NRL.

Drawing on those hard times, the veteran prop is adamant the Raiders can salvage their 2021 campaign after five consecutive defeats.

With influential hooker Josh Hodgson set to return from a calf injury for Saturday's Magic Round clash with the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium, Papalli said the mood in Canberra's camp remains upbeat.

Ricky refuses to take credit for Papalii's form

The saying goes that behind every good man is an even better woman and Stuart believes Masepa Papalii is that someone.

The pair were sweethearts for several years before tying the knot in late 2018. Season 2019 not only saw Papalii shift from lock to front row, it gave the 27-year-old a third Mal Meninga Medal (for the Raiders' best player) in four years.

Papalii scored six tries, made 61 tackle busts, 31 off-loads, ran for 3830 metres at an average just shy of 150 in each of his 26 games.

Top five second-rowers in the NRL

Who are the game's elite second-rowers going into the 2017 season? The NRL.com team got together and settled on the following five players.

5. Matt Gillett

2016 stats: 81.2 metres per game, 38 tackles per game, 38 tackle breaks