The Canberra Raiders are on a roll but influential big man Josh Papalii says they can’t afford to take their foot off the accelerator just yet.
The Canberra Raiders have brought their season back from the dead with an impressive three-game winning streak but milestone man Josh Papalii is warning his teammates not to get ahead of themselves.
Papalii said he hadn’t been surprised to see the Canberrans rise from the doldrums by defeating the Bulldogs, Sharks and, on Sunday, the Rabbitohs.
“I knew our team was capable of doing that,” said Papalii, who played his 250th NRL game in Dubbo on Sunday.
“We showed in the last three weeks that if we hang in there and just grind it out, that’s what we’re capable of doing.”
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The Raiders now sit within striking distance of the top eight and Papalii is encouraging his teammates not to rest on their laurels.
“We need to stick to it,” he said.
“We’ve still got more losses than wins. We still need to keep grinding.”
Papalii said he was thrilled to have gotten the two points in his 250th game, especially after a week in which key players were struck down by a nasty strain of the flu.
“It’s been an emotional week, that’s for sure,” he said.
“It’s a good way to bring 250, with a win.”
Sunday’s game was the second time the Rabbitohs have taken a home game to Dubbo and the third time this year that the Raiders have played at a regional ground not typically used for NRL games.
The NRL has worked hard to take more games outside of the capital cities in recent years; by the end of the 2022 season, games will have been played at 27 different grounds, up from 23 in 2012 and 18 in 2002.
After sharing his special day with an enthusiastic country crowd, Papalii said he’d like to see the NRL take even more games out to the regions.
“I love coming out to the country and giving back to the community,” he said.
“This is where all the awesome talent comes from, out in the country.
“It’s good to see all the support. They should play more games out in the country, that’s for sure.”