An emotional Josh Papalii has confessed that he “cried all week” before his 250th NRL game for the Canberra Raiders.
Queensland forward Josh Papalii has admitted he “cried all week” ahead of his 250th NRL match for the Canberra Raiders.
Since making his first grade debut in 2011, Papalii has become Canberra’s third most capped player in history, behind Jason and Jarrod Croker on the all-time list.
The 30-year-old celebrated his 250th game with a tryout against South Sydney on Sunday afternoon, as the Raiders cruised to a comprehensive 32-12 victory at Dubbo’s Apex Oval.
He also scored 132 metres, four tackles and a line break to help Canberra secure their third win in a row.
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Speaking to Fox League after the 20-point win, Papalii confessed that emotions got the best of him before the historic match.
“Yeah, that was hard, brother,” he said.
“We are finally putting it together and it is very nice to see.
“I love this club with all my heart and it is a good way to get up to 250.
“Yes, I cried all week.
“Just remembering what brought me here. The sacrifice of my parents. My wife, my children.
“It’s been an emotional week.”
The Canberrans ambushed their second team in the top eight in as many weeks, now sitting outside the top eight only on points difference.
Heading into Sunday’s game, the Raiders had scored the third-fewest points of any team this season, but had little trouble getting through the soft Rabbitohs defense.
The Raiders were leading 20-0 at halftime and although the Bunnies managed to stop the bleeding in the second stanza, they never seemed like a serious chance to chase down Canberra.
The end result could have been even more brutal had the Raiders not missed three of their goal attempts.
“It’s just been an emotional week and now I can sit back and enjoy it with the guys and catch some colds,” Papalii said.
“I knew what our team can do.
“We showed the last three weeks of what we are capable of and it is good to finally see all the hard work paying off.
“There is still a long way to go. We still have more losses than wins and we need to fix that fast.”
After sharing his special day with an enthusiastic crowd from across the country, Papalii said he would like to see the NRL bring even more games to the regions.
“I love coming to the country and giving back to the community,” he said.
“This is where all the amazing talent comes from, on the field.
“It’s good to see all the support. They should play more games on the pitch, that’s for sure.”
The Raiders next take on the Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium on Sunday May 29, with kickoff scheduled for 4:05pm AEST.
— with Jasper Bruce, NCA NewsWire
Originally published as ‘He cried all week’: Josh Papalii’s emotional preparation for a milestone in the fight