Josh Papalii of the Raiders is tackled during the round 14 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium on June 15, 2013 in Canberra, Australia.
Josh Papalii of the Raiders is tackled during the round 14 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium on June 15, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. Stefan Postles / Getty Images

Qld Origin star Josh 'Papa' Papalii known as gentle giant

JOSH Papalii has attracted plenty of attention this week by saying he won't back down if push comes to shove in Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

But talented Raiders utility Anthony Milford said the big Queenslander was a gentle giant away from the rough and tumble of the football field.

So much so that Milford, who has extremely close ties to his family in the Brisbane suburb of Inala, said he would be lost without the guidance of the man nicknamed Papa.

"First and foremost, I'm here because of the support of my family," Milford said.

"Moving to Canberra was very hard, but having Josh here has helped me so much.

"We became mates while growing up, and we're always hanging out playing pool, basketball ... anything really."

But Milford said the gentle nature changed once Papalii, at an intimidating 110kg, stepped onto the football field.

"I have no doubt Josh can match it with anyone if he puts his mind to it," he said.

Milford has already captured the imagination of league fans after just seven games with his impressive pace, sidestep and kicking game, saying he had developed his skills playing with friends and family.

"I just played a lot with my church group growing up, and mucked around in the backyard," he said.

"We play an expansive game of footy down here, and guys like Terry Campese and Josh McCrone have really helped me."

Milford, who represented Queensland at U20 level this year, has more representative aims later on in 2013.
"I want to play for Samoa in the World Cup alongside Papa," he said.

Who knows, maybe one day they will even wear the Maroon jersey together.



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