Last year was a memorable one for the redheaded Kuki, as he made his State of Origin debut for the unstoppable Queensland side, playing in all three matches as the Maroon’s won their third straight series.
He also turned out a weekly clinic in forward play, averaging just under 100 metres and 25 tackles over the course of the regular season.
However, his performance in the Roosters’ loss to the North Queensland Cowboys at the end of the season was disappointing.
He gained just 57 metres in the team’s biggest game of the season, and was subsequently blasted by Roosters great Brad Fittler, who took Napa and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to task.
“They just weren’t in the game. There was no aggression. They weren’t coming off the line. I didn’t see them take it to the Cowboys at all.”
By comparison, Kiwis and Tongan forward Jason Taumalolo ran for over 230 metres on 21 carries, thoroughly outclassing his opponents.
Despite the poor performance, former Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen defended the Sydney duo.
“I think a lot of the pressure came from the Cowboys’ completion rate,” Gallen said.
“That’s the hardest part of defending - when you’re as big as blokes like Napa and Hargreaves, doing those back to back sets of six you have no energy in attack whatsoever.”
Despite off-season rumours that Napa would leave the Roosters to join good friend Mitchell Pearce at the Newcastle Knights, he looks likely to open his sixth NRL season with the Tricolours.
The Roosters have already been installed as favourites to claim the premiership trophy. And with the retirement of Queensland stalwart Nate Myles, Napa also looks to be a sure-fire Origin starter, as the Maroon’s look to claim their 12th series win in 13 years.
Napa has played three tests for the Cook Islands and 102 NRL matches for the Roosters.