Isaiah Papalii

  1. rugged
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    rugged 1st Grade Fringe

    I had seen in him in NYC and then was back in ISP which I hoped was a sign that he was progressing. He is very young but if you are average at NYC you are going to struggle right?
     
  2. TheCool
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    TheCool 1st Grade Fringe

    He's a long way off first grade at the moment. Been invisible in NYC from the games I've seen.
     
  3. Iafetas Kickstand Wang
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    Iafetas Kickstand Wang 1st Grade Fringe

    100%. He's very young but I think he's overhyped unfortunately.
     
  4. mt.wellington
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    mt.wellington TRUST THE PROCESS? Contributor

    Warriors young gun Isaiah Papali'i gives hope for the future
    MARVIN FRANCE

    Last updated 05:00, September 10 2017

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    If there is one player at the Warriors you want to be compared with it is Simon Mannering. Better still when it is comparing work ethic.

    So in a year where the positives have been few and far between for the club, they may well have unearthed a future leader in 18-year-old rookie Isaiah Papali'i.

    Few players break into the NRL at such a young age and the hard-running back-rower exceeded his own expectations with five appearances off the bench.

    Isaiah Papali'i made his debut for the Warriors in round one against the Newcastle Knights.

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    JOHN COWPLAND/PHOTOSPORT
    Just last year, Isaiah Papali'i was starring for Mount Albert Grammar in first XV rugby.

    Admittedly, some of those were due to the club's injury crisis. But veteran prop Ben Matulino, who played his last game for the club against Wests Tigers last week, believes it will only be a matter of time before Papali'i is a regular name on the team sheet.

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    Isaiah Papali'i made his debut for the Warriors in round one against the Newcastle Knights

    "He's got a massive future," Matulino said. "When I walked past him in the gym and saw what he's doing, I couldn't believe he's only 18-years-old.

    "He could still be in the (under) 20s, but he's playing NRL games.

    "For someone so young, he's got such a good head on him and he's so willing to learn.

    "He does all the little stuff, like Simon does, he's got that sorted that already.

    "He's going to be at the Warriors for a long time and people will definitely know who he is."

    Papali'i is a man of many talents.

    Named the best first XV player in the country last year after leading Mt Albert Grammar to the national secondary schools title, he could have easily decided to pursue a career in rugby union.

    He was also a junior Oceania powerlifting champion and already holds the power clean record in the Warriors gym.

    But league runs in the family.

    Papali'i grew up watching his parents play for Auckland club Richmond while his mum, Lorina Papali'i, represented the Kiwi Ferns at two world cups.

    He spent 2016 juggling his union commitments with the junior Warriors but despite his success in the 15-man code, there was never any doubt where his future lay.

    "I played a lot of sports growing up but under-11s I started to play league and built through the grades," Papali'i told Stuff.

    "I played it on the side in high school because rugby took over but I knew when I came out of school that I was going to come back to league.

    "There was talk here and there (about staying in rugby) but I was pretty adamant that I wanted to come back to league after school.

    "The Warriors presented me with an opportunity to join full-time and I just jumped at it."

    It was always a goal of Papali'i's to make his NRL debut this year, although it still came a shock to hear his name read out for the season-opener against Newcastle.

    Papali'i practically forced Stephen Kearney's hand with a stellar pre-season.

    He had to wait until the reverse clash against the Knights, in round 22, for his next taste of first grade as he continued his development in NSW Cup and under-20s.

    But he went on to appear in four of the Warriors' last five games and held his own in extremely tough circumstances.

    "I was just trying my best to get my name in that 17 and managed to get in round one which I was pretty stoked about. It was a big surprise but it was definitely my goal for this year."

    It was a testing year all-round at the Warriors as they lost their last nine games to miss the finals for a sixth-consecutive season.

    Papali'i can look back on it more fondly than others but he took some valuable lessons from his rookie year.

    "Preparation throughout the week is a big factor on the weekend," he said. "And just to play my own game, not feel too pressured to go out and do somebody else's job, just play the way I play and do what I do."

    As with all players who achieve success at such a young age, there is always a risk of getting carried away.

    Yet with strong family support, Papali'i seems safe in that regard and already has his targets set for 2018.

    "More consistent NRL games and try to make it on a week-to-week basis," he said.

    "My family are always pushing me to train and they've always been good at keeping me down to earth.

    "I just try to always remind myself that I'm always chasing something new, new goals every week. There's always something to chase which keeps you grounded."

    Isaiah Papali'i
    Age:
    18
    Position: Lock, second row
    Height: 1.82m
    Weight: 103kg
    NRL games: 5
    Achievements: Oceania Power Lifting Championship double gold medallist (2014), First XV player of the year (2016), Warriors NYC debut (2016), Junior Kiwis (2016)

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  5. Dunedin warrior
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    Dunedin warrior 1st Grade Fringe

    I really like the kid, for an 18 year old to hold their own at nrl level especially for a forward is a fantastic effort. Looking forward to watching him progress in the future.
     
  6. Afakasi247
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    Afakasi247 1st Grade Fringe

    Great article...I mentioned on another thread that I believe this guy will be the natural replacement for Mannering - in terms of filling the hole Simon will leave when he decides to hang em up.

    Only 18...already being compared to Mannering, learning from the man himself...he held his own at NRL level...actually wanted to play league and rep Warriors despite a promising future in the other code...

    If Simon has 2 seasons left in him...Papali'i will be 20 years old with 3 seasons NRL experience under his belt so long as the club continue his development...

    Can't mess this up.
     
  7. Stalefish540
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    Stalefish540 Dr. Process

    It would have to be the first time in the history of the club for that to happen...:woot::woot::woot:
     
  8. Ref
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    Ref 1st Grade Fringe

    He made a shitload of tackles on Sunday, plus 3rd man in often to slow the PTB down. And bounces up and races back on side. Maintained the same non stop effort for 80 min. Looks like he has plenty to offer in attack as well.
     
  9. TheCool
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    TheCool 1st Grade Fringe

    That's complete rubbish. Etene Nanai is far and away more highly rated than Papali'i.

    I don't think Papali'i was clear cut best player in the country in his year, I don't even think he was the best player in his team, Caleb Clarke (who now plays for the Blues) was the best player in that MAGS team. Papali'i won some unofficial award from Sky TV claiming him to be the player of the year, I don't even think they handed that award out this year.

    Nanai was easily the best player this year in school boy rugby, regardless of performances in NZSS team. You could make an argument for Leicester Faingaanuku. If you even remotely followed them early on, it's pretty obvious that Nanai was more highly touted than Isaiah at the time they were signed.

    When we signed Papali'i, nobody even knew who he was. He played NZ U18 but was hardly a club changing signing. It wasn't until his first few U20 games in 2016 at prop when people began to notice his stats. He then joined an already stacked Mt Albert Grammar side and they went on to win the national title. When we signed Etene, he had already established himself as a future superstar at St Kents since he had been the starting 1st XV fullback since he was 15. We actually beat out a huge number of professional outfits to sign Etene. As for Isaiah there would not have been anywhere near as much interest when we first signed him, but obviously he's developed well since then.

    I don't think you can even compare Stacy, the level of competition he was facing as an 18 year old doesn't even come close to what Isaiah and Etene were facing in the Auckland 1st XV scene.
     
  10. Gizzyfan
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    Gizzyfan Warriors 1st Grader

    I dont get these arguments. With the different requirements of each position it is just opinion judging who is best in one team let alone a competition.
     
  11. t-wade23
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    t-wade23 1st Grade Fringe

    Agreed and certain situations might tend to be not beneficial for the prospect e.g over abundance in one position,Playing out of position,poor coaching can lead a can’t miss prospect down to not fulfilling his potential.
     
  12. bruce
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    bruce Warriors 1st Grader Contributor

    Really?o_O That needs some explaining. Stacey was not only a star junior but he made first grade as a junior in 1995 and looked a star then, tell me one bloody Warrior (except Manu Vatuvei and Mannering) who has done that since, including SJ.
     
  13. TheCool
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    TheCool 1st Grade Fringe

    Ata Hingano achieved the same things as Stacey as a Junior; debuted in the NRL at 19 and captained Junior Kiwis at 18.

    All I was saying is that prior to his single year playing for the vulcans as an 18 year old the competition he faced would have been shit house. And that in terms of signings, Nanai and Papalii's signatures were more coveted.
     
  14. Viking
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    Viking 1st Grade Fringe

    How does Nanai compare to Clarke at the same age? They play different positions but Clarke looks a lot bigger and faster. Nanai looks good in the highlights, how does he go playing against men in senior footy?
     
  15. TheCool
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    TheCool 1st Grade Fringe

    Yeah I think Caleb Clarke translates better to the pros, because like you said he's definitely bigger and slightly faster than Nanai. Went to one of the ITM Cup games he played for Auckland this year and was surprised how big he is. He's listed at 6'2 and 107 kg. The appeal with Nanai is his footwork, extremely talented on his feet and still has legit speed off the mark. But can only imagine what a destructive duo Clarke and Rieko Ioane will be for that Blues backline in the coming years.
     
  16. Viking
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    Viking 1st Grade Fringe

    Yeah that would be my concern with Nanai, he looks great in the highlights against what look to be younger or at least, less physical opposition but I'd want to see how that translates to playing against men that won't be bumped off easily and can match him for speed before I'd throw big money at him. You'd have to think he'd be roughly the same size as RTS though so it's not like he's too small for a league fullback.

    Caleb is ready to go now though and I expect him to make the ABs squads in the not so distant future. He'd be doing sub 11 100ms, second fastest at the Blues behind Reiko apparently.
     
  17. dean
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    dean 1st Grade Fringe

    I am pretty sure Stacey Jones was playing premiers in the Fox Memorial as a 16-17 year old. It was a very different comp then. Players went straight from the Fox to NRL.
     
  18. Chchfanatic
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    Chchfanatic Warriors Bench Player

    Both great players , but look up ngane punivai and Leicester faainganuku. Wow these 2 are going to be something special. Punivai already played for Canterbury as a 18yr old. Can’t remember the last kid to do that. So much talent around. Wouldn’t surprise me if both are in the crusaders for the Brisbane 10s
     
  19. ForTheLoveOfGod
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    ForTheLoveOfGod Warriors Bench Player

    Yeah certainly some over zealous hype about Abraham Papaili being the best junior in NZ Rugby. HE was solid but to be honest his level of talent is nowhere near the elite of NZ junior rugby with the likes of Danny Toala, Caleb Clarke, Kini Naholo, Leicester Faainganuku, Taufa Funaki just in a complete different class for best current junior talent in NZ.

    Etene Nani is a talent though and an absolute loss for the warriors. I see him translating into a very good fullback at the chiefs/nz rugby and could potentially develop into the Tim Nani-Williams / Charlie Piatua type player that is highly valued in NZ Rugby.

    Warriors missed the boat on Marino Mikaele Tu'u who was grabbed by the Highlanders from Hawkes Bay, another junior who was out of high school the year previous but would of made a fantastic prop in the NRL. Disappointing they sign the likes of Vete, Papaili etc when guys who are out of high school and floating at the edge of super rugby and are just much more gifted players do not even seem to be in the conversation. Id drop a guy like Vete in a heart beat for a player such as Marino Mikaele Tu'u who straight out of high school was putting senior Super rugby players in the itm cup on their asses while hauling metres and trys.

    Kini Naholo is another guy the Warriors should of been all over. He was scintillating this season scoring over 41 trys for the season! Brother of Waisake Naholo so good stock and just has a log jam of talent in New Zealand in front of him with the likes of Rieko Ioane, Caleb Clarke and the incredible Leicester Faaainganuku who truly could be the next real big thing. Jeepers what ever production line that NZ rugby has that produces the likes of a Leicester Faaiganuku you just have to applaud. He is the exact player you want signed as a junior. Already an immediate destructive force - a great great All Blacks career ahead.

    Most underated player in junior rugby is Danny Toala who could also become a very good All Black, id rate his skill set as in line with Anton Lienart Brown and in some ways he does a few things better. The Warriors should be throwing the bank at this type of kid because he has the work ethic to go all the way and he will most certainly go a very long way.
     
  20. theleagueguy
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    theleagueguy 1st Grade Fringe

    Leicester Faaainganuku was signed by the Parramatta Eels but pulled out similarly to Etene Nanai. 18 year olds are highly unpredictable at 18 Tui Lolohea was way superior to David Fusitua in yet David Fusitua is the better player now. Just look out at Nic Cotric 16 tries while Kalyn Ponga couldn't establish himself at the Cows