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Papalii ready to return home against Titans

Josh Papalii admits last week's loss to the Cowboys was very disappointing but is ready to return home against the Gold Coast Titans this Saturday night.

The Raiders suffered their first loss of the 2022 season after going down 26-6 against the North Queensland Cowboys last Saturday. 

Papalii admits the side were nowhere near their best and he is ready to turn that around. 

“Yeah it was very disappointing, that wasn't us on Saturday and hopefully we can turn up to a packed GIO Stadium and perform for our loyal fans,” Papalii said. 

“It's something we've spoken about this year, keeping our home games nice and strong and hopefully we can do that on Saturday.” 

Both the Raiders and Titans currently sit with one win and one loss to start the season after the Titans defeated the Warriors in round two. 

Papalii is ready for the challenge the Titans propose but is focusing on himself and the team.

“They obviously love to chuck the ball around, they play an expansive kind of footy game and so do we, we just got to limit their guns a little bit and hopefully do some of our moves and hopefully score a few more points as well," Papalii said.

“They're pretty handy but being more experienced and a bit older in the group I don't look too much into opposition teams, my focus is on myself and my team and that's all we can do.”

The Raiders will welcome back star winger Jordan Rapana who will line-up on the wing for the first time this year after serving his suspension.

Papalii can't wait for Rapana to return to the side and is excited about the experience and ability he brings to the team.

“It's always good getting Rapa back, he's obviously experienced, one of those players who can do something out of nothing and he's a massive addition to our team," Papalii said.

Brad Schneider also returns to the team this week after missing last week's match in COVID isolation. Schneider played a very important part in the side's round one victory against the Sharks.

Papalii said that Schneider will have to be at his best this week but is looking forward to him returning to the side.

“Obviously we need him to be at his best in round three, he obviously missed the second one, but we're looking forward to Schneids being back in the team.”

“It's good to see him nice and healthy, he’s obviously still young, always eager to train and play so having him back on board as well is very nice.”

The side will also have extra motivation this week after the news that Josh Hodgson will need season ending surgery and his time playing for the club has come to an end.

Papalii said that the news was devastating to hear and will definitely be used as motivation going forward. 

“Yeah I was obviously shattered for Hodgy, likewise as all the players, Personally, off-field he's been real massive for me so he's gonna be a big miss but he's obviously sticking around for the whole year. Playing round one was our last game together so it's very emotional, very sad but in saying that hopefully we can do something special to farewell himself.”

“We owe him a lot, in saying that we just gotta take it one week at a time and use Hodgy’s injury and what he's gone through as a motivator for us to do well this year.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.