Stat of Origin: The hidden value of Papalii

His name has not been mentioned much in the lead-up to game one of the Holden State of Origin series, but if Queensland are to continue to keep a stranglehold on the series he might be one of the state's unsung heroes.

Josh Papalii has been the most effective of any player from the Blues or Maroons in the past decade for metres gained over the advantage line.

According to NRL.com Stats, he has averaged 10.12 metres per run, the only player to average double figures.

In the Origin arena where even great players struggle to score points when they aren't on the front foot, players of Papalii's skill-set are vital.

The second-best player for carting the ball forward in Origin in the last 10 years comes from an even more unlikely source, with former NSW centre Matt Cooper churning out 9.53 metres per run.

Josh McGuire (9.28 metres) and Darius Boyd (9.24 metres) also rank highly, fittingly given the roles they have played in Queensland's decade of dominance.

The statistical highlight is a reward for Papalii who has been riding an emotional roller-coaster this season for the Canberra Raiders.

The 26-year-old received plenty of criticism for his lack of conditioning after playing for Samoa at last year's World Cup.

A sluggish start to the season at club level led to Papalii being dropped by Raiders coach Ricky Stuart to the Intrust Super Premiership.

Since his recall he has consistently been one of the Raiders' best, playing both in the middle of the field and on the edge, giving Queensland coach Kevin Walters even more flexibility on June 6.

Papalii has averaged 156.25 metres per game in the last month for Canberra with a season-high 213 metres coming against Cronulla in round 10, which featured a staggering 92 post-contact metres.

 

Witness Australia's greatest sporting rivalry when Origin comes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6. Bronze tickets available from $49 here