Papalii wants Taumalolo as Origin warm-up

Josh Papalii has been in stunning form for the Raiders.
Josh Papalii has been in stunning form for the Raiders.

Maroons forward Josh Papalii wants to leave his mark on North Queensland enforcers Jason Taumalolo and Matt Scott in his final hit-out before State of Origin.

Papalii, 27, has been in career-best form for Canberra this season and will be one of the first named when the Queensland squad is announced on Monday.

But first he wants to rip in against Maroons teammates Michael Morgan and Coen Hess, plus former Queensland prop Scott and international superstar Taumalolo, when the Raiders host the Cowboys on Saturday.

"They have some international players in their side and we're not going to take that lightly," Papalii said.

"The Cowboys forward pack is laying the platform and with Michael Morgan leading them around the park they're always going to be hard team to defend against.

"(Scott) is very experienced. He's been there and done a lot in the game and I think a lot of people talk about his age taking a toll, but with last week's game I didn't see that. He'll be a big threat on the weekend and we've got to contain that.

"I look forward to challengers like that (Taumalolo and Scott) and I'll try and put my best foot forward before the Cowboys do theirs. I just want to play well because we need the win."

Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker believes Papalii's off-field work has been paying dividends on game day this season.

"Papa will be the first one to admit he didn't come back in his best shape over the last couple of preseasons," Croker said.

"But the way he came back this year ... he's in career-best shape and that's showing in how he's playing.

"Papa has always been a consistent player but he's taken that to a new level with his off field as much as his on field."

But Papalii put his improved form down to his age.

"I haven't changed much to be honest. I'm just a bit older and more experienced and just know what works and I'm just sticking to that at the moment," he said.

Australian Associated Press