Blockbusting Canberra back-rower Josh Papalii has turned his back on New Zealand by pledging his representative allegiance to Queensland and Australia.

Named in the Kiwis train-on squad for next month's rugby league Test against Australia in Townsville after playing for the Junior Kiwis in 2011, the 20-year-old is instead turning his attention to the green and gold of Australia.

His switch is another blow for the Kiwis and international rugby league, after North Queensland prop James Tamou also rejected his country of birth to turn out for NSW and the Kangaroos earlier this year.

Canterbury sensation Sam Kasiano - named prop of the year at the Dally M awards - is also at the centre of a tug-of-war over his services with both the Kiwis and Maroons laying claim to the giant front-rower.


Papalii, who moved to Australia when he was six, said he consulted with his family before making the call to go with the country in which he played all his junior football.

In 2009, Papalii represented Queensland under 18s and also played for the Queensland schoolboys.

"Family is very important for me and my family has helped me over the past few days to make the decision to make myself available for Australia and Queensland," Papalii said in a statement.

"I've lived most of my life in Queensland and played all of my junior football in Australia and if I ever get the chance to play for the Maroons or Kangaroos I would be very proud.

"I played for the Junior Kiwis last year and feel very humbled to have the chance to play for them, but in the end I knew in my heart that I want to play for where I grew up and have had so many wonderful memories."