His size and fitness was a source of constant chatter last season but Josh Papalii says his improved 2019 form is not due to trimming down, he's actually the same weight as last year.
Papalii, who has been looking fit and fantastic while spearheading Canberra's rise up the ladder, said he was tipping the scales at 112kg, which was his playing weight in 2018.
He played the majority of his 22 games in the 2018 Telstra Premiership at lock. But in 2019 he has started all seven games at prop. He believes he can sustain three gruelling Holden State of Origin games in the front row.
Papalli played the majority of the time in his 11 Origins coming off the bench or starting in the back row, but he is reading to move forward.
"Obviously you've got to earn your spot. But I feel what I'm doing with the Raiders is good enough to carry me through a series," he said.
"I started one game there last year at prop [Game III]. Hopefully I get there again this year.
"I'm about the same weight … maybe it's the colour of my new boots that makes me look faster," Papalii said pointing to his light blue boots with bright orange trim.
Croker gets a double against his old side
Papalii has played 12 games for Queensland (2013-2018) and is one of the elder statesmen in the team now.
But he doesn't necessarily think current senior players need to have a say in the new Maroons skipper to replace Greg Inglis, especially since former Inglis teammates Billy Slater and Darren Lockyer are among the four selectors – Gene Miles and coach Kevin Walters being the other two.
"I think the selectors are good men. So they will do a good job in finding another captain. I think that in looking forward to a new captain, we first have to remember what GI has done," the Raiders forward told NRL.com.
"I think we need to thank him first before we start talking about who's next."
The Raiders have to bounce back from the 24-20 loss to Manly, which interrupted their string of four straight wins, when they face Penrith in Wagga Wagga on Saturday and then take on the Roosters and the Rabbitohs.
"We'll go back and look at this game and prepare for the Panthers. It won't affect us as we only take one game at a time.
"It doesn't matter who we play, we just want to play better.
"We leaked a few points [v Manly] so if we can fix up a few one-on-one tackles we'll be alright."