Rugby League

Ricky Stuart has no plans to use Josh Papalii at prop for Canberra Raiders

Josh Papalii has been playing prop for Australia in the Four Nations.
Josh Papalii has been playing prop for Australia in the Four Nations. Photo: Getty Images

Josh Papalii might be propping up the Kangaroos, but Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is adamant he'll return to life on the edge after his Four-Nations campaign.

The Raiders second-rower will once again wear the No.10 jersey as a makeshift prop for the Kangaroos in the Four-Nations final against New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday due to a string of injuries and suspensions in the position.

But Stuart has no of shifting him to the front row for the Raiders' 2015 NRL campaign.

The Canberra coach felt he had plenty of cover in the middle and Papalii's talents were ideally suited to creating havoc out wide instead.

Stuart has David Shillington, Dane Tilse, Shannon Boyd and Paul Vaughan for the grunt work up the middle.

But injuries to Matt Scott (shoulder), James Tamou (neck). Andrew Fifita (arm) and Nate Myles (shoulder), as well as Paul Gallen's drugs ban, has pushed Papalii into the Kangaroos front row.


"[I won't consider Papalii at prop] in the short term. I read his comments [last weekend] and he's certainly doing a good job for Australia in that position, but we'll certainly be keeping him on the edge for the time being," Stuart said.

"I'm happy with what we've got in the middle from our front row into out tights situation.

"That position on the edge is something that Josh makes a good fist of for us.

"It will be way down the track before he has to move into the middle for us."

While Stuart won't play Papalii at prop, he will continue to use Vaughan there – as well as shifting him out onto the edge.

He felt it was important for Vaughan's development to experience both.

"He's done that this year, we played him on the edge at times this year," Stuart said.

"I think the guys that are young in their careers, it's good for them to learn how to defend and play on the edge and also have the ability to come into the middle.

"It's a tougher position to defend, it's a tougher position to attack on the edge and you do need time to learn the trade there.

"Moving into the middle is probably an easier position to defend, in regards to reading the attack etc, but it's a tougher position all up.

"It's a lot more work, it's a lot more intensity and repetitive efforts. Two completely different types of positions and you've got to train for both.

"It's a real education to defend on the edge – in the middle it's more grunt and power."