Every winning NRL season is made up of those incredible moments that go above and behind and the Canberra Raiders’ Josh Papalii has pulled off a doozy in his side’s 36-16 win over the Gold Coast Titans.
In shades of some of the great forwards chasing down a speedy back, the 110kg prop chased down the Titans’ 77kg halfback Jamal Fogarty after a close to 60m chase.
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After opening up a 22-4 lead at halftime, the Titans were desperate for an early score and looked to have it after Fogarty marked the ball in the in-goal before racing to the 20m with all the Raiders off-side.
After dodging an ankle tap, and brushing off a tackle, Fogarty was in open space — except the Raiders’ prop was not about to give up.
More known for his big hits and being next to impossible to tackle, Papalii showed good speed to get in range of the Titans half, before a brilliant ankle tap.
This is one of the best desperation plays from a forward you’ll see.Source:FOX SPORTS
Fogarty also knocked the ball on when hitting the ground as the commentators collectively lost their minds.
“How did Josh Papalii do that?” Fox League commentator Matt Russell said. “There’s your tackle of the week boys right there.”
“The big freight train ran him down,” Corey Parker added.
Arguably the most excited was Queensland coach Kevin Walters who was giddy when watching the replay of the man who will most likely be a Maroons prop yet again.
“Come back here young fella, and he ankle taps him,” he said. “Then he ankle taps him …” he added before trailing off.
Russell took the reins and asked “We will see some great tackles this year, absolutely bellringers, but will we see a better tackle than a desperation ankle tap from Josh Papalii?”
“I don’t think we will, the big Papa bear still sucking in the oxygen,” an excited Walters added.
Tough stuff for the Titans again.Source:Getty Images
Papalii spoke about the play after full-time.
“I wasn’t sure, he was starting to get away there,” he said. “I was going to do a do or die ankle tap and if it didn’t work I was going to catch it on the mouth anyway. I was lucky enough to catch his ankle.”
Papalii remarkably got up to 31 km/h in the chase according to Fox Sports.
Social media agreed following the commentators lead.
Courier Mail journalist Travis Meyn wanted to give “Papalii Dally M” while Canberra Times journalist David Polkinghorne was equally stunned tweeting “PAPALII!!!!! just chased down a halfback! what a green machine!”
Rugby League Project owner Andrew Ferguson added: “Every team needs a winger like Josh Papalii”.
Well, that's the play of the week sorted. #NRLTitansRaiders
Josh Papalii ankle-tapping Jamal Fogarty is THE play of the year. ? ?#NRLTitansRaiders pic.twitter.com/sNo7kWVG9i
It was an incredible moment and one that will be replayed plenty of times.
While the Titans were the next to score as AJ Brimson forced his way over, the Raiders were building their way into the game with Hudson Young forcing his way over on the crash play, before an intercept from Nick Cotric basically put the game out of reach for the Titans.
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