Canberra say Papalii to stay at Raiders

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Controversial forward Josh Papalii will be staying at the Raiders according to the NRL club, the 20-year-old backing out of a deal with Parramatta.

The Raiders issued a statement on Friday afternoon saying Papalii had agreed to terms with the club through until the end of 2016.

Papalii said the decision to remain was based on discussions with his family and friends.

“Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with my family about this decision and I’m comfortable that it’s the best thing for me, my career and my family,” Papalii said in a statement.

“It’s been a really tough decision to make but, in the end, I had to do what was right for my family and I know I’ve done that.

“The Raiders have given me the chance to start my NRL career and I’ve made a home in Canberra for myself and my family.”

Papalii had been at the centre of a tug-of-war for his services having initially signed a three-year, $1 million deal with the Eels.

But the deal had some wiggle room with the Raiders having up until round 13 to make a counter offer.

The Raiders always maintained that Papalii had signed with the Eels under duress, a claim the Sydney club denied.

Raiders CEO Don Furner said the club was ready to move on and let Papalii continue with his career in the nation’s capital.

“Josh is an important member of our club, he’s come through our junior development system and it’s important for us to retain as many of our talented juniors as we can,” Furner said.

“We’ve agreed to terms with him for a further three seasons and we’re excited about his future at this club.”

Earlier on Friday, Eels coach Ricky Stuart seemed confident Papalii would be seen in the blue and gold.

“I am excited by the signing. He’s going to be a great asset, but I know there’s a lot of pressure being put on him which is unfair.

“I think there’s too much pressure on players to make decisions too soon and it needs to be looked at.”

© AAP 2014

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