Queensland veteran Josh Papalii in huge State of Origin bombshell
The Queensland veteran made the huge call ahead of the squad announcement.
Maroons veteran Josh Papalii has stunned fans after announcing his retirement from Origin footy only days away from Billy Slater picking his Queensland squad. Papalii has played 23 matches for the Maroons since his debut in State of Origin in 2013.
Papalii has won 14 games, which includes five series wins. The forward told Slater earlier this week that he would step aside from the Origin arena to focus on club footy at the age of 31.
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“I’ve loved every minute of my time playing for Queensland and representing the state and I have memories from my time in maroon I will never forget,” Papalii said. “For me, it’s about giving the next generation of Queensland players the chance to represent and it also allows me to concentrate on my football for the Raiders during the middle part of the season.”
“I want to thank all of the coaches over the years that have given me the opportunity to play for Queensland and all of the players who I have taken the field with.”
Slater, who also played with Papalii during his triumphant Origin days, paid homage to Papalii's career after 10 years in the Maroons jersey. “I was fortunate to feel both the presence Papa gave as a teammate and the confidence he gave me as a coach,” Slater said today.
“Josh’s commitment and performance in his last Origin game typified his career in Maroon – heart, selfless and committed to his team… a warrior of the Origin arena," the coach added. Fans were quick to praise the forward to a stellar career in the Maroon jersey.
JUST IN - Josh Papalii retires from Origin footy.
What a warrior he has been for @QLDmaroons.
23 caps since 2013.
14 wins, 5 series wins (when involved in 2 or more games).
Plenty of fresh blood coming through the QLD ranks.
Can’t wait for May 31 in Radelaide 😏
— Zac Bailey (@ZacBailey14) May 18, 2023
Carrigan, Gilbert, Tino, Collins, Cotter, Flegler, Arrow, Welch, Horsburgh, Fotuaika...
I think Queensland will manage without Josh Papali'i https://t.co/ZrjTbo9og2
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) May 18, 2023
What a terrific player Josh Papalii has been for the @QLDmaroons. Played in the toughest position on the field and never let his state down. Papalii has announced his origin retirement after 23 games for the Maroons. @NRLonNine @wwos
— Peter Psaltis (@peterp79) May 18, 2023
HUGE news. What a player he has been in that arena. So much admiration for him as a former book end myself.
Can’t deny though… this is great news for my Blues 😳 #papalii #origin #qld https://t.co/wAt2UVbJ6i
— Taylor Brown (@TaylorBrownM) May 18, 2023
Maroons bolstered in forward role ahead of Origin
Papalii has been included in every Maroons team since 2017 and would have seemed like an automatic selection this time around. While Papalii's announcement would have come as a blow to Slater, the Maroons coach has a number of options to fall back on.
Queensland are bolstered in the forwards department with Patrick Carrigan, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Tom Flegler, Corey Horsburgh, Lindsay Collins and Christian Welch all in the mix for game one.
Queensland are the reigning champs with the Brad Fittler's men looking to restore pride having lost two of the last three series', despite entering as favourites. The Blues face a bigger
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