Papalii eyes return to form against Eels

Pamela Whaley
Josh Papalii is eyeing a return to his damaging ball-running best for Canberra

Josh Papalii prides himself on leading the young Canberra pack but admits he has been off the pace recently and needs to improve.

The 28-year-old Queensland and Australia forward is averaging just under 150 metres per game this season, which is on par with his career-best 2019 standard.

However, after the Raiders suffered their second loss of the season to an injury-depleted Manly side on Sunday, the Raiders veteran concedes he's not at his best.

Papalli says he has re-watched the match "a few times" since and is targeting a return to form against Parramatta on Saturday.

"I think Parra is probably the No.1 pack at the moment and we pride ourselves on being successful here," said Papalii.

"I haven't been up to scratch yet and hopefully I can fix that on the weekend."

He was unsure what's been holding him back.

"I'm usually mentally ready to go before each game... I don't know," he said.

"I'm just not up to scratch at the moment and need to be a bit better.

"I'm one of the old guys in the pack. The young guys look to the older guys to do something and hopefully I can do that this weekend."

Saturday's match will be the last match on the road for the Raiders for a fortnight with the NRL allowing most clubs to return to their home stadiums from round eight.

The Raiders have been using Campbelltown Stadium as their home venue since round three, and their intense weekly travel schedule has taken its toll.

Over the past four weeks the 2019 grand finalists have travelled to Melbourne, followed by Sydney every weekend to win just two games since the competition restarted.

And while Raiders skipper Josh Hodgson says the team has been professional with no complaints, Papalii is keen to return to GIO Stadium from next weekend.

"I can't wait," he said.

"The travel hasn't been too good for us.

"We're usually a team who loves to travel but lately we've lost two at Campbelltown, so it'll be nice to come back home and play in front of our fans and rack up a few wins before finals come around."