Rugby League

NRL: Josh Papalii won't look to Origin despite strong start to NRL season

Josh Papalii has a simple reason for his impressive start to the 2016 season, and her name is Khalani-Rose.

Papalii's 18-month-old daughter has helped the Australian representative stay focused and grounded amid the initial hype and subsequent frustration with the Raiders' start to the year.

Josh Papalii trains on Tuesday ahead of the Raiders' match against Canterbury on Monday night.
Josh Papalii trains on Tuesday ahead of the Raiders' match against Canterbury on Monday night. Photo: Graham Tidy

"I guess I'm just enjoying my footy," he said. "My little daughter is keeping me busy and I guess being away from training and not thinking about footy all the time helps.

"It's still the early rounds and I could play a bad game this week and then everyone forgets about how good I started, so I'm not thinking about any form at the moment, just try and do my job."

Papalii will be crucial to the Canberra Raiders' chances against a top-of-the-table Bulldogs outfit that belted a hapless Rabbitohs side on Good Friday.

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Their agile forward pack has proved critical to the Bulldogs' early season form following the introduction of the new reduced interchange rules.

Papalii has traditionally started seasons slowly before hitting his straps around the middle of the year, but after three tries in four matches for the Raiders this year, Origin could again be on the cards for the Queenslander.

But Papalii won't hear of it.

"I'm not thinking about it at the moment, it's down the season – we're still in round five and I'm just focused on getting the win this Monday," he said. 

"The Bulldogs are the benchmark of the NRL at the moment so we're going to have to go up there and do a massive job, especially at Belmore; I don't think there'll be too many Raiders fans there.

​"We definitely let that game slip away [against the Gold Coast Titans] and hopefully we can go to Belmore and do the job.

"Personally I don't think the Titans beat us, we beat ourselves. Hopefully we go out on Monday and can match it with the big forward pack the Dogs have and come away with the win."