Billy Slater has spoken of Josh Papalii’s immense contribution to the Queensland Maroons following the Canberra Raiders star’s decision to retire from State of Origin football.
The Raiders forward spoke with Slater earlier this week to inform the Maroons head coach of his decision.
“I was fortunate to feel both the presence Papa gave as a teammate and the confidence he gave me as a coach,” Slater said today.
“Josh’s commitment and performance in his last Origin game typified his career in Maroon – heart, selfless and committed to his team… a warrior of the Origin arena.”
Papalii, who has represented Queensland on 23 occasions, made the call ahead of this year’s Origin series which kicks off in Adelaide on May 31.
He said it allowed him to concentrate on his club football, and would also give 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.”