Josh Papalii knocks out Souths player as Raiders smash the Rabbitohs 32-12

Josh Papalii KNOCKS OUT his opposite number in first tackle of the game as Raiders enforcer celebrates milestone with a try and Raiders rout the Rabbitohs

  • Souths prop Tevita Tatola collected Papalii’s elbow on his chin from the kickoff 
  • The front-rower failed his concussion test and took no further part in the match 
  • Papalii smashed through three Souths players for a try to mark his 250th game
  • The Raiders won 32-12 to record their third win in a row after five straight losses 

Canberra prop Josh Papalii kicked off his 250th NRL game against Souths on Sunday with a devastating hit-up from the kickoff followed by a typically tough try as his Raiders ran all over the Rabbitohs.

Bunnies front-rower Tevita Tatola tried to tackle the Green Machine veteran as he brought the ball out of the in-goal but put his chin right on Papalii’s elbow and reeled out of the impact before collapsing on the turf.

He failed his concussion test and took no further part in the match as a shellshocked South Sydney never recovered after falling behind early.

Tevita Tatola comes off the ground after being momentarily knocked out by a Josh Papalii hit-up from the kickoff 

Three Rabbitohs couldn't stop Papalii from scoring a typically tough try in his 250th NRL game

Three Rabbitohs couldn’t stop Papalii from scoring a typically tough try in his 250th NRL game

Nick Cotric went over for the first try in the fourth minute before the crowd at Dubbo’s Apex Oval went wild as Papalii dragged several Bunnies with him as he reached out for a hard-fought try in the 13th minute.

The enforcer may have disappointed fans when he cut his mullet off earlier in the season but he’s never been anything less than inspiring on the field, as evidenced by his teammates absolutely swamping him after he scored.

Before the match Raiders coach Ricky Stuart summed him up well when he said, ‘He doesn’t like to be singled out but he deserves to be singled out on this occasion.

‘The form that he is in, the consistency that he’s played with in his career – the 250 games – I don’t think I’ve coached a game of Josh’s where he’s played badly.

Papalii is completely swamped by his ecstatic teammates after he marked his milestone match in the best way possible

Papalii is completely swamped by his ecstatic teammates after he marked his milestone match in the best way possible

The photo that sums up the match for Souths: Halfback Lachlan Ilias is picked up and slammed to the turf as his team got monstered 32-12 by the resurgent Raiders

The photo that sums up the match for Souths: Halfback Lachlan Ilias is picked up and slammed to the turf as his team got monstered 32-12 by the resurgent Raiders

‘To be able to say that with the position he plays, as a front rower, is an enormous credit to him.’

Tries to Hudson Young, Sebastian Kris and Matthew Timoko had Canberra in full command of the match against a listless Souths side who went to halftime with a win already out of reach.

Damien Cook got one back for the Redfern side in the 51st minute, but Xavier Savage hit back for the Raiders soon after.

Kris’s try was a thing of beauty, with Corey Horsburgh smashing through a hapless Cody Walker before producing a spectacular spinning offload for Hudson Young, who threw a no-look pass to Tom Starling so he could put the centre over.

Xavier Savage scored the Raiders’ last try of the match as they ran out 32-12 winners, recording their third victory in a row after five straight losses.

‘We’re finally stringing it together and it’s very pleasing to see. I love this club with all my heart,’ Papalii said after the siren.

‘I’ve been reminiscing about what got me here, my parents’ sacrifice, my wife and kids. It’s just been an emotional week.’ 

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