New Signings: Isaiah Papali'i

Arriving at the Eels from the New Zealand Warriors, Papali'i is a promising recruit who adds further backup to Parramatta's middle forwards.

Although beginning life as an edge player at the Warriors, he spent most of 2020 in the middle of the field, often coming from the bench.

He possesses intelligent line running, quick footwork and offers ball playing skills.

One of the major issues in Parramatta's bench during 2020 was a loss of aggression and ball skills when Junior Paulo and Nathan Brown exited the fray.

With the game speeding up even further in 2021, it's hard to imagine those players churning out longer minutes than they did in 2020 so a suitable backup is required.

While Papali'i doesn't possess the size of Paulo, he does possess plenty of aggression and his ball playing skills mean he can fill the ball playing gap left by Parramatta's two NSW Origin representatives.

His lack of size could also work in his favour given the speed of the game, although at 108kg he's not the smallest middle by any means.

He will be in an interesting battle to snag a bench spot with Oregon Kaufusi and Marata Niukore also vying for the middle bench role.

While both Niukore and Kaufusi put in big efforts in 2020, Papali'i may be seen as a point of difference to call on from the bench, so it could be left to Niukore and Kaufusi to battle it out for the same spot.

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  • Believe it when I see it.  If he was so good he would have been a regular for a struggling warriors outfit and nor would they have let him go!   Hoping for the better, but I personally am not convinced but happy to see how it pans out. Appears to be yet another attempt at bargain basement options IMO.


  • I would be happy with a bench consisting of Niukore, Papali'i, Hipgrave and one of either Cartwright, Lussick or Kaufusi. 

  • In games I saw him play for the Warriors he was always involved. He seemed to like to be around the ball. I'm hoping for good things. 

  • Great addition I wouldn't be surprised if he pushed for a starting spot. The rotation of players will he interesting, I'd like to see Nathan Brown and Jr Paulo start as props with Papali'i at lock meaning RCG  replaces Jr so that momentum is not lost or the other way around - adds skill to the pack and will roll up his sleeves in the middle. I was surprised the warriors let him go

  • Definitely a bench position, does plenty of work and very involved in attack especially.  The new faster rules suit his quick, powerful plays. 

    Totally opposite to what a slow cumbersome Alvaro brought. Can play middle 

  •  He's not big by any means but he goes hard.Always head down and throws himself at the defense.Listed at Lock on Parra Eels  website .   2020 stats : 21 tackle breaks from 15 games average hit ups 9.              As a reference  Nathan Brown 2020: 22 tackle breaks from 18 games average hit ups 15.So you can see by those numbers he's a hard man to tackle,good signing. 


    • 108 kgs is not big?

      FMD we have had players under to 100 previously who did very well tyvm.

      Nathan Brown @104 is a midget? Cartwright 107 - Hipgrave 102.

      Try saying not tall, which has its advantages.

      182 cms @ 108 kgs could be defined as a pretty solid block of cement where I come form.

      • He's certainly a nugget.Yes I guess I meant not tall but runs with purpose, and I'll take that everyday over some of our recently departed tall and heavy plodders.

        • I put him in the Brandon Smith catagory but with a bit more talent eggy.

          Short, nuggety and a no surrender mentality from what little I have seen of him.

          Could be just what we need off the bench.

          • At 182cm he's basically 6ft tall and 108kg. He ain't a nugget. He's a big dude in any language. 

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