Maroons coach Kevin Walters revealed on Sunday (CI time) that the Roosters prop will finally get his shot for Queensland, after he named him to start alongside Nate Myles in next Tuesday’s series opener.
After coming close to earning a call-up in 2015 and only missing last year’s series through the QRL-enforced suspension, this debut is one that many in the rugby league world have been waiting for.
Napa’s opportunity has come following the season-ending knee injury to Maroons veteran Matt Scott, who has led the forward pack bravely throughout Queensland’s decade of domination.
But Walters does not want Napa to feel any pressure to be like Scott.
He says the young wrecking ball needs to just stick to his own game when he runs on to Suncorp Stadium next week.
“We don’t want him to try to be Matt Scott, because he’s not,” Walters said.
“He doesn’t play like Matt Scott does. We need him to play like Dylan Napa can.
“That will be his main task all week, to play like he can and not to be someone else. If he plays like someone else, I think he’ll fail.
“We need him to provide some go-forward so our halves and our backs can come into play. That’s why Dylan is in the side, to create that momentum for others to enjoy the spoils.”
Walters was the one who made the call to Napa to tell him he was going to wear his first Queensland jersey next week and he said the Brisbane-born forward was understandably excited.
Napa arrived in camp Sunday afternoon alongside his new teammates, but Walters said the fun would not last for long, with plenty of work ahead for the debutant.
“For him to now finally get his opportunity, we’d like to think he’s going to make the most of it,” Walters said.
“We have to get down to some training and go through all the motions to make sure Dylan is ready for the game of his life.”
- The Courier Mail