Meninga axing cut deep for Papalii
Samoan forward eyes win
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.”