You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Canberra pair ready for rep footy: Papalii

AAP logoAAP 24/08/2016

They're the two Canberra misfits who have outgrown the NRL.

On the back of the Raiders' stunning ascension into premiership contention, Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana have evolved into arguably the most feared centre-wing combination in the league.

And according to Kangaroos incumbent Josh Papalii, both are now destined for higher honours when the Raiders' assault on this year's finals series is over.

It would be complete a stunning transformation for the duo, who have overcome a number of hurdles to finally make their mark on the competition.

"We've had a lot of players playing their breakout season," Papalii told journalists on Wednesday.

"A lot of them are a bit older, redeemed themselves from bad form. It's going good so far and hopefully we can keep it going and they'll get what they deserve."

Leilua battled form and fitness issues over his first six seasons at the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle before finding consistent form after linking with coach Ricky Stuart in Canberra last year.

In contrast, Rapana rode a different path to stardom, including stops on a Mormon mission and Super Rugby before he too found a home under Stuart.

Now Papalii believes they could be running out for Australia and New Zealand respectively in October's Four Nations tournament in England.

"Obviously BJ had a lot going on before coming to the club. It just shows when you play footy (you can put yourself in contention)," he said.

"And then Rapana outside of him as well - I'll be surprised if he doesn't get picked for the New Zealand team."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon