In spite of his contract with the Tigers extending for another two years, Papali’i only mentioned the 2024 season when discussing his future plans with the club.
“I’ve told them that I intend to stay another year minimum… I want to give it a real go, prepare well in off-season and set myself up for a great new year… I haven’t consulted with Benji (Marshall) regarding the rumour,” Papali’i elaborated.
“I’ve been made aware of the rumours through friends who forwarded me the story but from my side, I’ve not spoken or given any statements to anyone,” he stated.
The continuous chaos at Concord left Papali’i questioning the move, particularly following the departure of Maguire in June 2022.
Previously, there were apprehensions expressed by Papali’i about the progression of the club, but Marshall, the incoming head coach, was instrumental in persuading the New Zealand international to honour the contract then.
Highlighting the ongoing volatility at the club, including Marshall’s early adoption of the coach role, Papali’i commented, “This was a bit nerve-racking initially as things were moving behind-the-scenes; with Scott (Fulton) taking over and Warren McDonnell exiting as recruitment manager, and an unforeseen change in coaching which all of us didn’t anticipate.”
He continues, stating that his concerns were fair, but challenges are part of the process.
He admits his debut season with the Tigers has been fairly difficult, especially with the team on the brink of receiving their second consecutive wooden spoon.
However, he is hopeful that rookie coach Marshall will be able to improve the team’s performance on the field.
According to Papali’i, “There are some promising signs that the club will improve under Benji’s leadership… Now it’s the players’ job to embrace his coaching style.”
Even though this season might be chalked off for the Tigers, Papali’i stated the team will compete for pride against Manly this Friday.
“It’s crucial for us to get a positive result in our last game, which in turn will help us kick-start next season once over. There’s a lot at stake. We are determined to end this season on a high note,” says Papali’i.