Josh Papalii chooses State of Origin over Kiwis

ORIGIN LURE: Josh Papalii will turn his back on New Zealand to chase a place in the Queensland State of Origin side.
ORIGIN LURE: Josh Papalii will turn his back on New Zealand to chase a place in the Queensland State of Origin side.

Josh Papalii will turn his back on New Zealand to chase a place in the Queensland State of Origin side.

Papalii has agonised over his decision for the last week after being named in New Zealand's train-on squad for next month's Test against Australia in Townsville.

The 20 year old announced his decision to turn down the spot in New Zealand's squad at a press conference at Raiders HQ this afternoon.

Papalii was born in Auckland, but played all his junior football with Souths Logan, traditionally a fertile breeding ground for the Raiders.

Raiders boss Don Furner met with Papalii on Thursday last week, and the club is looking to extend his current contract which expires at the end of next year.

"He didn't leave [New Zealand] at 16 like a Benji Marshall or a [Sam] Kasiano, he left at six," Furner said.

"He didn't even know what rugby league was when he went to Souths Logan, he wanted to play rugby union, but the closest club played rugby league."

"The reality is if he stayed in New Zealand, he probably would have played rugby union."

Papalii's boyhood idol is Ruben Wiki, and the New Zealand and Raiders great has forged a strong bond with Papalii.

But he also grew up idolising Queensland's Origin stars, including current coach Mal Meninga.

-Sydney Morning Herald