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Papalii axed from Kangaroos team

NZN 28/04/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Canberra forward Josh Papalii has been axed from the Kangaroos team after pleading guilty to a drink driving charge in court on Thursday.

The Raiders announced it would wait until Monday before deciding on a punishment for their star player, however, the NRL stepped in prior to next week's Kangaroos camp.

"Given that Josh pleaded guilty to drink driving we believe it is inappropriate for him to join the Kangaroos camp," NRL chief executive said on Friday afternoon.

"We would expect that the decision to stand him down from the Test will be taken in to consideration when the Raiders Board considers the matter next week."

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said the decision was made in the best interests of the team, but hinted the 24-year-old could re-join the squad for the World Cup at the end of the year.

"The game has made a really strong stance against this behaviour and I'm a very strong believer that this stance is the right course of action," he said.

"This doesn't prevent Josh from making himself available for the World Cup at the end of the year and I reiterated that to Josh today."

Papalii's place on the Kangaroos' interchange bench has been taken by clubmate Shannon Boyd - with Manly's Jake Trbojevic named as the 18th man.

The developments come after Papalii was on Thursday fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for eight months for an incident in January.

How many NRL games the Queensland State of Origin player misses is in the hands of the Raiders board, who opted to wait until Monday before dishing out a ban.

"The Canberra Raiders have a strong record in dealing with player behaviour issues and this matter will be no different," club chief executive Don Furner said in a statement.

"The Board Meeting Monday will give both parties time to consider the facts and to hear Josh's side of the story before handing down any further sanctions.

"We have to also balance personal matters and player welfare in a sensitive and confidential manner, as best we can, given the media interest.

"Obviously, we do not condone what Josh has done but we know how remorseful he is and he remains a highly valued member of the Raiders family."

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