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World Cup prospect

Tuesday 7 December 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Rugby league, Sports

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World Cup prospect
Dylan Napa has signed a two-year deal with an option for a third year with Super League grand final runners-up Catalans. SYDNEY MORNING HERALD/21120605

Dylan Napa’s Super League switch has got the Cook Islands Rugby League Association excited at the prospect of securing the outgoing Canterbury Bulldogs player for the World Cup 2022.

The Cook Islander, who played for the national side in the 2013 World Cup, will be joining Super League grand final runners-up Catalans.

According to AAP, prop forward Napa, who turned 29 last month, was a free agent after failing to receive a new offer from the Bulldogs and has signed a two-year deal with an option for a third year in the south of France.

Catalans boss Steve McNamara said he was delighted with his latest capture.

“Having worked closely with Dylan at the Roosters, I know first-hand the impact he can have in this competition,” McNamara said.

“I spoke many times with him throughout the negotiations and his will, desire and enthusiasm to get back to his best form was overwhelming.

“He is at a great age for a front-rower, a grand final winner who will be a great addition to our club.”

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said the Super League switch was good news and “hopefully it will spark the Dylan of old with his devastating and block busting tackles”.

“I did hear the Catalans were keen on him and I think it’s a good move for him to a new environment. He was very quiet at the Bulldogs and the missed opportunity making the Queensland State of Origin side must have impacted on his game,” Carlson said.

“He was making headlines for all the wrong reasons and I hope this will be the stepping stone into something better in life and sporting career.

“He was part of our World Cup squad in 2013 and his experience will be a huge asset to the Cooks in the World Cup 2022.”
Napa made 124 appearances for Sydney Roosters, winning the Premiership (NRL) title in 2013 and 2018, before joining the Bulldogs in 2019 and making 54 appearances for them.

He has represented Queensland on seven occasions, winning the State of Origin series in 2017 and played for the Cook Islands in the 2013 World Cup.

Napa said: “I’m very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Catalans organisation.

“To see the progress the club has made in the past years is an environment I want to grow as a player but just as importantly as a person.

“I have a great relationship with Steve McNamara from my time at the Roosters and can’t wait to get over to France, put in the work and earn respect from my team-mates and coaching staff.”

The deal comes nine days after the Dragons confirmed the signing of 32-year-old playmaker Pearce, who has signed a two-year deal, with the option of a third, as, effectively, a straight replacement for fellow Aussie James Maloney, who retired after the grand final.

Newcastle Knights agreed to Pearce’s request for a release from the final year of his contract to enable him to make the move to France.