Meninga ax­ing cut deep for Pa­palii

Samoan for­ward eyes win

Daily Mercury - - SPORT LEAGUE/UNION -

RUGBY LEAGUE: Josh Pa­palii will be look­ing to make Aus­tralia pay when he lines up for Samoa in Dar­win to­mor­row night.

The Can­berra Raider prop and past Queens­land Ori­gin player played eight Tests for the Kan­ga­roos be­fore be­ing over­looked for se­lec­tion for this World Cup.

He ad­mit­ted he was hurt by coach Mal Meninga’s de­ci­sion to leave him out.

Pa­palii was picked for the Kan­ga­roos’ mid-year Test against New Zealand but was a late with­drawal af­ter he was nabbed for drink-driv­ing.

He will now be part of a ma­jor hur­dle that con­fronts the Kan­ga­roos in their quar­ter-fi­nal.

“It’s got to hurt when you’ve been in a team for so long (and not) get­ting picked,” he said.

“Then again my form wasn’t the best. I un­der­stand how that plays (out).

“He (Mal Meninga) is the coach. He se­lected his team who he thought could win the World Cup. I was not in there.

“I’m play­ing for Samoa now. That’s who I have to play good for. That’s how I see it.”

Meninga in­stead chose rook­ies Rea­gan Camp­bell-Gil­lard, Wade Gra­ham and Felise Kau­fusi ahead of him.

“I was picked in the mid-year Test but I missed out be­cause of dis­ci­pline is­sues. He is try­ing to set a good ex­am­ple for his team and I didn’t fall un­der that,” Pa­palii said.

“I was meant to go to PNG for the PMs XIII but lost my grandad be­fore that game and I had to pull out. That was the last time I spoke to him.”

Samoa hasn’t reg­is­tered a win in three games this World Cup, but are qui­etly con­fi­dent of catch­ing the hosts off guard.

“Any­one who’s go­ing up against Aus­tralia is go­ing to be un­der­dogs,” Pa­palii said.

“We haven’t had a win and it’d be nice to get one in Dar­win.

“We still have one more chance.”

Hav­ing beaten Cameron Mun­ster to the Kan­ga­roos’ five-eighth po­si­tion, Michael Mor­gan said he was keen to di­rect an im­proved at­tack­ing per­for­mance against Samoa.

“We are un­der no il­lu­sions we can be bet­ter (in at­tack),” he said.

“There’s been a lot of changes through­out the three games.

“It’s been tough to get a lot of play­ing time to­gether, with peo­ple com­ing in and out and tri­alling play­ers in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions.

“That’s prob­a­bly the big­gest chal­lenge when it comes to the way you at­tack, but ev­ery­one is good enough to gel pretty quickly.”

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