Queensland have added a further five players to their squad for next month’s State of Origin series.
Canberra have made Josh Papalii a Raider for life with the star prop signing a deal that could see him at the NRL club until the end of 2025.
There were rumblings Papalii could consider moving to be closer to family in Queensland but the 28-year-old opted to extend his current deal with the Raiders.
He is already on contract until the end of 2022 but has agreed to an extension until the end of 2024 with a further option for 2025.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is one of his biggest fans and said through the season he would go all out to make Papallii a “Raider for life”.
The deal will effectively see Stuart’s wish come true.
Already regarded as the game’s top prop, Papalii said he felt like his best football was ahead of him and he would be out to prove the Raiders got a good deal.
“I feel like my footy is on the up and my best is yet to come,” Papalii said on Tuesday.
“I’m glad the Raiders had faith in signing me long term and it’s now in my own hands to prove I’m worth what I said.
“But no pressure – I’m pretty confident I can deliver some good footy for the club.”
The Maroons star said he never wanted to play for a Queensland club but did feel a pull home to Brisbane to look after his family.
“I just thinking of my parents, who are starting to get old and my wife’s parents, but I never said I was going to move and play for a Queensland club, I just said I wanted to go and look after my parents.”
The three-time Meninga Medallist has been integral to Canberra’s push to the playoffs again this season after reaching the grand final last year.
Earlier this year Papalii played his 200th NRL match for the club since debuting in 2011 and has now played 215 matches.