'Built for Origin': Papali'i on Horsburgh for Maroons
Corey Horsburgh was born to play State of Origin football. Just ask a Queensland stalwart who's lifted the shield six times.
Veteran Josh Papali'i, a Maroons prop since 2013, says Canberra teammate Horsburgh would have plenty to offer Queensland if picked for his representative debut in less than two weeks time.
Raiders firebrand Horsburgh has churned out 123m and 32 tackles per game with just three misses in his side's five-match NRL winning streak, with his intense physicality and passionate play catching the eye.
"He's made for Origin," Papali'i declared after Canberra knocked off Parramatta on Saturday night.
"If there's a punch up, he's probably the first one in, if he's not the one causing it.
"He loves that physical side of things, he's got a bit of lip as well and he can play footy - that's what Origin is all about.
"I really do hope he gets in and I'll be supporting him on the way as well."
Papali'i's advocacy was not lost on Horsburgh, who says he's constantly learned from the Samoan international in his six-year tenure as a Raider.
"I remember watching him as a kid, he's been around that long," the 25-year-old said.
"I pick his brain as much as I can. He's still got Queensland jerseys in his locker he's got that many, so it'd be nice to get to his status one day."
Asked if he agreed with Papali'i that he'd be an ideal fit for Origin football, Horsburgh said: "I personally do ... but it's not really up to me.
"They've kind of got their team cemented, they won last year and I'd love to get in the squad. That's kind of my goal, just to get a bit of experience there and play even better."
Queensland coach Billy Slater, a noted admirer of Horsburgh, has plenty of options in his middle-forward rotation, with incumbents Papali'i, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Reuben Cotter, Pat Carrigan, Lindsay Collins and Tom Gilbert all hard to dislodge.
Melbourne captain Christian Welch is also in the frame after missing last year's series through injury.
Papali'i averaged just 27 minutes per game for the Maroons last year but showed he's still more than up to the representative level with some monster performances to help Samoa to the World Cup final.
"I'm always keen, but my footy's gonna do the talking," he said.
"Anyone can say they're keen but they've got to be playing some good footy.
"You're not just representing yourself, when you go to Queensland you're representing the people, the state.
"We'll see what happens; I'm always putting my hand up for Queensland and if I get in, I get in."