Raiders forward Josh Papalii has backed the NRL to continue to protect player safety amid a recent increase in hip-drop tackles.
Dangerous techniques are back in the spotlight after Gold Coast Titan Aaron Booth avoided sanction for a cannonball tackle on Raiders star Joe Tapine last Saturday.
The NRL did come down hard on Patrick Carrigan, the Brisbane forward suspended for four weeks for a hip-drop tackle that left Jackson Hastings with a broken fibula.
It's a suspension that will likely send a warning to players as the finals approach, however Papalii is not sure if bans act as a deterrent during the heat of the battle.
Given the speed of the game, the forward recognises tackles can quickly go wrong but he praised the NRL for doing what they can to stamp dangerous tackles out of the game.
"The boys obviously don't go out to practice or do it on purpose," Papalii said. "I think it's just an in the moment thing.
"I've suffered a few hip drops and I've done a few myself, it's not something you practice, it just happens. I think the NRL are looking after players pretty nicely, it's a step in the right direction."
While he's hoping for an injury-free game, Papalii is expecting a physical contest when the Raiders host Penrith on Saturday.
The clash will see an in-form Canberra pack take on a Panthers side featuring the likes of Isaah Yeo, Viliame Kikau, Apisai Koroisau and James Fisher-Harris.
While Papalii acknowledges he has not been at his best this season, the prop has watched in awe as Tapine has developed into one of the most damaging forwards in the competition.
The focus now, is to elevate his game to that of his teammate and help lead the Raiders into the top eight.
"I'm finding my feet a little bit," Papalii said. "During the Origin period, not playing a lot of minutes, it's hard to do things when you're limited in minutes. In saying that, I could've done more.
"It's great to see and play alongside [Tapine] as well. This is the best I've seen him go, I'm in awe of how good he's going.
"It's so good to see him run, people can't put him on the ground and I'm the next one to carry. He's obviously having a good season and hopefully he can keep that form going."
Papalii has his sights set on a pair of goals over the coming months, the forward eyeing a deep finals run with his club side and a successful World Cup with Samoa at the conclusion of the NRL season.
In doing so, the 30-year-old will decline the opportunity to represent the Kangaroos and instead play for his country of heritage at the global tournament.
The decision comes as a host of elite players have opted to represent Pacific Island nations, Jason Taumalolo starting the movement when he pledged his allegiance to Tonga ahead of the 2017 World Cup.
Panthers stars Jarome Luai and Brian To'o have said they'll play for a Samoan side that could also feature Martin Taupau and Francis Molo.
Papalii has been inspired by the growing shift towards the Polynesian nations and it's a movement he was desperate to be part of.
"Seeing a few of the Penrith boys coming out, I've had a few text messages from other players who haven't come out yet, saying they will put their hand up for Samoa," he said.
"As an older player, I feel like it's a movement that I don't want to be missing out on. I'm glad I'm coming out today and saying 'my hand's up for Samoa'."
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