Papalii grateful for second shot at NSW giants
Maroons enforcer Josh Papalii is grateful to have been given the chance to make amends for the Queensland forward pack's poor showing in Origin I but admits he was surprised so many others were axed by coach Kevin Walters.
Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles, Aidan Guerra and Jacob Lillyman were all sacrificed after the 28-4 loss in Game One and replaced by Jarrod Wallace, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper.
It's a turnover of players unlike the Maroons have seen through more than a decade of dominance and has been done largely to match the power and energy that the Blues unleashed through the middle third of the field in the series opener.
Visibly distraught in the Suncorp Stadium sheds after the game Papalii said he was "burning" for a couple of days afterwards and that he would tap into that anger to make sure something similar doesn't happen at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday.
While excited at the inclusion of three debutants in the forward rotation, the 25-year-old said those who have missed out would have been just as desperate as he is to make up for what happened in Game One.
"I wasn't too happy with how I played, especially with how our forward pack went. New South Wales had a field day the last game," Papalii said.
"I thought [Walters] was going to keep the same team because I was definitely burning after that first one.
"I definitely know the boys that did get dropped would have been burning too.
"I thought we were going to stick with the same team to use that anger to try and motivate ourselves to win Game Two.
"But in saying that when you put the Queensland jersey on you're always motivated to perform well and put in a good effort."
Only Papalii (109 metres), Josh McGuire (126m) and Dylan Napa (101m) ran for more than 100 metres among the Queensland forwards in Game One as the Blues ran for 152 more metres in total than the Maroons.
Much of the credit for the Blues' dominant win in Game One went to front-rowers Andrew Fifita, Aaron Woods and David Klemmer who went on a rampage through the Queensland middle third defence.
But recent history shows that the Maroons have triumphed in three of the four games that Fifita, Wodos and Klemmer have all played together for NSW, giving Papalii belief that the "giants" can indeed be beaten on home soil.
"They definitely have the size but there's other ways in beating size these days," said Papalii.
"We can play a bit quicker because we're not as big as NSW but tackling in numbers, that's always going to work.
"Origin is not a small game, it's got a lot of emotions running through the game and hopefully we can win for 'JT' (Johnathan Thurston).
"It's winnable. Just got to try and wear the giants out."
After starting on the left edge in Game One Papalii is being tipped for a move into the middle for Game Two, a decision that will become much clearer after the team trains on Friday morning.
Nursing a knee injury that delayed his arrival into Queensland camp, the Raiders wrecking ball expects to take part in Friday's session and help to usher in a new generation of Maroons forwards.