Isaiah Papalii

  1. rugged
    May 1, 2012

    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?
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  2. TheCool
    Jul 18, 2013

    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.
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  3. Iafetas Kickstand Wang
    Jun 21, 2012

    Iafetas Kickstand Wang 1st Grade Fringe

    100%. He's very young but I think he's overhyped unfortunately.
  4. mt.wellington
    Jun 21, 2012

    mt.wellington DONT BELIEVE THE HYPE Contributor

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

    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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    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
    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
    Nov 10, 2014

    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.
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  6. Afakasi247
    Mar 5, 2014

    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.
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  7. Stalefish540
    May 13, 2017

    Stalefish540 1st Grade Fringe

    It would have to be the first time in the history of the club for that to happen...:woot::woot::woot:
  8. Ref
    May 19, 2012

    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.
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