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Raiders duo, including Kiwis forward, cleared to travel despite no flu vaccine

Canberra have been handed a massive boost with Josh Papalii and Joseph Tapine both cleared to play in Townsville against North Queensland tomorrow.

Joseph Tapine attempts to shrug off Cameron Munster. Source: Getty

Both Papalii and Tapine risked missing the match after refusing to have the flu vaccine earlier this year, as per the Queensland government's no-jab, no-play policy.

However they have both been handed exemptions based on medical grounds, allowing them to fly to Queensland for the match.

It means the duo will also be able to face the Gold Coast again in three weeks’ time, as the Raiders face two trips to Queensland in quick succession.

Papalii will also be able to play State of Origin in Queensland if selected for the Maroons again this year. The news comes as a massive win for the Raiders.

They had put in paperwork for the pair to play last week, before officials sought further documentation over Papalii earlier this week.

Both were named in Canberra's 17-man squad in the hope they could play, with the club seriously lacking forward depth through injury.

The Raiders are already without Sia Soliola, Corey Horsburgh, Josh Hodgson and Emre Guler long term, and released three middles during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Papalii in particular has been immense for the Raiders as their leading metre eater in four of the past five games.

The decision means no player will miss a game this year due to the Queensland government's stance.

Canterbury hooker Sione Katoa got the jab after initially rejecting to travel with the Bulldogs to face Brisbane earlier this month.

Manly forward Addin Fonua-Blake also received late clearance, with the club not willing to reveal if he had the needle or received medical clearance.

Gold Coast utility Bryce Cartwright also received a medical exemption, while centre Brian Kelly received his at the last minute after initially being stood down from training.

Canberra lock Soliola was the other player to refuse the needle, but he misses the club's two trips to Queensland over the next month due to injury.

There is still some slight possibility he could return from his facial fracture in time for the finals, where it's possible that Canberra could have to travel to Queensland to face Melbourne.