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Raiders to decide Papalii NRL fate Monday

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/04/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Canberra will wait until Monday at the earliest before deciding on a punishment for forward Josh Papalii, freeing him to play in Saturday's NRL clash against Canterbury.

Papalii's Kangaroos spot in next week's Test against New Zealand is in jeopardy after he was this week fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for eight months for an incident in January.

How many NRL games the 24-year-old misses is in the hands of the Raiders board, who opted to wait until meeting with Papalii star on Monday before handing 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 on Friday.

"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."

Raiders captain Jarrod Croker believes a Test ban would be too heavy a price for Papalii, saying his teammate had proven to be a model citizen, on and off the field, over the past four months.

"I think it would be, but that's just my opinion. We're all entitled to it," Croker told reporters on Friday.

"Hopefully that's not the case.

"It looks like he has (grown), especially on the field.

"But off-field, Papa's as happy as I've ever seen him.

"He learnt from that mistake. As a team we put it behind us.

"We got over it quickly, so did Papa.

"I'm sure he's put yesterday behind him and he's worried about playing a good game for us tomorrow and then moving into the game next week."

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga conceded he is likely to be forced to find a replacement for Papalii, possibly in the form of clubmate Shannon Boyd - who was named as the Kangroos' 19th man on Wednesday.

"Josh would likely have some sort of sanction against him. We'll follow those procedures," Meninga told Sky Sports' Big Sports Breakfast on Friday.

"I'm big on behaviour on and off the field.

"When you put the green and gold jersey on, you're telling me that you want to be an ambassador and a great role model for the game."

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