Knowing he was short of match fitness and with this year’s State of Origin campaign looming on the horizon; Australian, Queensland and Canberra Raiders backrower Josh Papalii decided he wanted to do something about it.
He proactively approached his coach Ricky Stuart and asked if he could come home to Souths Logan in the Intrust Super Cup during this weekend’s NRL bye round to get some rugby league under his belt.
Souths Logan CEO Jim McClelland said the club were looking forward to having the local junior return to the place where it all began.
“As you know, he has been injured and with Origin coming up he knew he was short of a game,” McClelland said.
“He approached Ricky Stuart, who thought about it and he agreed to his idea.
“It’ going to be great for the competition to see someone like him play with us on the weekend.”
Papalii’s return to the Magpies also highlights how effective the NRL Secondary Affiliations has been for the club since being re-introduced this year; especially given the strong relationship that has existed traditionally between the Magpies and the Canberra Raiders.
“What’s good about this competition and this set-up is that it allows kids to go back to play with their clubs,” McClelland said.
He will also be returning just in time for the XXXX Rivalry Round match against the Ipswich Jets this Sunday, in what was already set to be a great game.
McClelland said it was going to be “strange” to see one of their juniors make his first grade debut for the club after first debuting for both the Maroons in the Origin arena and the Kangaroos at Test match level.
“It’s almost back-to-front how it’s happened for him,” McClelland laughed. “And to think we might see someone make their debut for us in this competition and then run out for Origin a few weeks – it’s a great thing.”
The Souths Logan Magpies will host the Ipswich Jets in the Round 10 XXXX Rivalry Round match at Davies Park on Sunday at 2pm.