Josh Papalii not surprised by omission from Australian team

CHANGING COLOURS: Josh Papalii will make his debut for Samoa at Equex Centre on Friday night after not being selected for Australia. Picture: Courtney Rees
CHANGING COLOURS: Josh Papalii will make his debut for Samoa at Equex Centre on Friday night after not being selected for Australia. Picture: Courtney Rees

Moving on from missing out in the Australian Test team, Josh Papalii is ready to give it his all for Samoa.

Looking to do his family proud, Papalii will make his debut for the Pacific Island nation in Wagga on Friday.

After pulling out of the Prime Minister’s XIII side to Papua New Guinea due to the death of his grandfather, the Canberra Raiders forward is not surprised to he wasn’t selected in Mal Meninga’s team.

“I was expecting not making the team,” Papalii said.

“Obviously I couldn’t go on the PM’s trip to Papua New Guinea and I think there were a lot more players in form than myself.

“In saying that it gives me the opportunity to come to a second tier nation and hopefully I can put my best foot forward to help Samoa try and at least crack the semis.”

He sees playing for Samoa the World Cup as a chance to represent his family. 

“It means a lot at the moment,” Papalii said.

“Being Samoan myself, both parents being Samoan as well and representing my granddad, who unfortunately passed away two weeks ago.”

Coach Matt Parish is thrilled to have Papalii, who has played eight Tests for Australia in his team.

“I just thought he would be picked for the Australian team but when he wasn’t it was obviously a big bonus for us,” Parish said.

Papalii wasn’t sure what to expect after coming into camp on Tuesday.

“Being in camp for two days you learn a bit with the boys and I’m looking forward to representing my family as well and taking my last name into the Samoan team,” he said.

Papalii is looking forward to the chance of playing in Wagga against the under 23s Country side.

He believes it is a good chance for the younger members of the Samoan team to start to showcase what they have on a larger stage.

He also recognises plenty of faces from watching Canberra Raiders Cup game and is sure they will be up for the challenge.

“I knew some familiar faces from the Country teams so hopefully they grab the opportunity with both hands,” Papalii said.