Maroons player Josh Papalii prepares to hit the turf.
Maroons player Josh Papalii prepares to hit the turf. DAVE HUNT

Hess ready for the big stage, says Papalii

JOSH Papalii knew Coen Hess was ready for Origin the night he was run over by the rampaging back-rower.

Long before whispers about the 20-year-old's potential grew into roars for him to be selected for Queensland, Papalii had a close-up view of his running power.

"I've actually been run over," Papalii dead-panned when asked if he'd run into Hess at club level.

"He's a big man. He's pretty hard to stop and he's pretty strong.

"Up in Townsville (in the opening round of the season), I think there was three dudes on him and he just put the ball down for another try.

"I saw him last night; met him for the first time.

"I think he's as tall as Dylan Napa, as wide as maybe me. He's big."

Hess is also big news.

The young gun has scored 10 tries in 13 games this season, including one in that opening round against Papalii and the Raiders.

"It's obviously good for Queensland," Papalii said of Hess' form.

"There was a lot of excitement watching Napa debut so I think it will be the same watching Coen Hess, and for Tim Glasby.

"J-Wall (Jarrod Wallace) very much deserves his chance and now he's off that shoulder charge."

Papalii is pleased for the young guns but thought coach Kevin Walters may not have made mass changes for Wednesday's game, instead giving his game one pack the chance to redeem themselves.

Walters was frank in his post-match assessment of the pack's performance, saying Queensland had been busted through the middle, his comments and the players' performances burning proud Maroons such as Papalii.


Cowboys forward Coen Hess.
Cowboys forward Coen Hess. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

"I thought he'd keep the same team because I definitely was burning after that first one," Papalii said.

"I definitely knew the boys that did get dropped were burning too. I thought he'd stick with the same team to use that angle and try and motivate ourselves for game two.

"(But) our game spoke for itself.

"It was obviously no secret that we didn't aim up against the NSW pack.

"Kev had gone another way making a lot of changes and bringing in a lot of younger players as well.

"It is what it is. We lost our first game through the middle so we need to aim up this next game."

Nursing a concussion and knee complaint, Papalii arrived late into camp for game two and expected to do some of his running in the pool early in the week to avoid soreness.

But the behemoth is expected to shift to a starting role in the front row when Walters names his side for Wednesday night and said he was ready for redemption.

"I wasn't too happy with how I played and how our forward pack went. NSW had a field day," he said.

"(Andrew) Fifita was running like a back and he gets a lot of confidence out of that."

With Hess, Wallace and Glasby making their debuts and Napa playing only his second game, Papalii is ready to step up as a senior forward.

But don't expect him to make any motivational speeches. 

"I'm not really much of a talker. I like to let my footy do the talking," he said.

"I don't say too much out there - the field is sort of my business and I try to take that personally."

News Corp Australia

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