Canberra Raiders forward Josh Papalii has announced his retirement from State of Origin football after a long and distinguished career for Queensland.
Papalii spoke with Queensland Coach Billy Slater earlier this week to inform him of his decision.
Papalii, who has represented Queensland on 23 occasions, has made the decision ahead of this year’s State of Origin Series and said it allows him to concentrate on his club football while giving the next generation of players the opportunity to represent Queensland.
“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.”
Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart said the decision for Papalii to step down from Origin showed the passion Josh had for the Queensland jersey and said he would be remembered as one of the greats of Origin rugby league.
“Josh’s decision to retire from State of Origin showcases Josh’s character and his selflessness for his state,” Stuart said. “Playing one State of Origin match is a huge achievement, but to play over 20 Origin matches over a decade makes Josh one of the most experienced and decorated players in Origin history.”
“His efforts for Queensland playing in the toughest arena in the toughest position will forever be remembered and Josh will go down as one of Origin’s greatest players.”
“The fact that he’s made this decision at a period of his career where he would still be able to compete at this level is testament to Josh’s character and humility and I think it highlights just how much origin has meant to him over his career.”