Josh Papalii is determined to rediscover his bullocking best.
Josh Papalii is determined to rediscover his bullocking best. DAVE HUNT

'Sticky' spray has Papalii primed

WITH a stirring spray from coach Ricky 'Sticky' Stuart still lingering in his mind, Maroons prop Josh Papalii plans to unleash the beast in a bid to turn the tide on the Blues.

A bitter loss in State of Origin game two was soured further when Papalii's Raiders lost to Parramatta in Darwin the following week, prompting an angry response from Stuart.

Upon his arrival in camp, Maroons coach Kevin Walters, too, is said to have ripped into the players for their dismal Origin II display in Perth.

"Sticky's spray was pretty bad - he has built a real nice culture and it was one game we should have put in the bag," Papalii said.

"We had a bit of a chat after the game, I can't remember much.

"We were a bit sore after he blew us up but that's what I like in a coach - he cares.

"After any Origin you want to go back to club and play well.

"That's one game (Origin II) I probably could have done more and didn't. I am glad there's a third game.

"He (Walters) wasn't happy. And so he shouldn't be," Papalii said of his second spray.

Josh Papalii of the Maroons is tackled by Damien Cook (left) and Jake Trbojevic of the Blues during Game 2 of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Optus Stadium in Perth, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Papalii was not at his best in Origin II. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

Now with a new engine room including front-row partner Joe Ofahengaue and interchange big men Christian Welch and Tim Glasby, the boppers have pledged to come out firing.

Papalii knows he must be the leader of the pack and says a fast start is crucial to wrestling back the coveted Origin shield.

"We have spoken about asserting our dominance early," he said.

"From the get-go we just weren't good enough and we have spoken about that as a forward pack.

"Defensively we weren't aiming up, (we) let a few tries get scored and in attack we weren't going forward and letting the backs show their magic.

"I am looking forward to playing with Jofa (Ofahengaue). I only played 10 minutes with him before he got hurt.

"I thought we started that second half of game one pretty well. I'm excited for the chance to play with him again and I hope he is too.

"He's been training pretty well. For a young fella he has a really nice mentality. He is definitely a bigger body, which is nice to have in the team."