Napa the answer to Blues' big boppers?
North Queensland five-eighth Michael Morgan may have been called in as cover for Daly Cherry-Evans but Maroons coach Mal Meninga has not ruled out beefing his bench with Roosters firebrand Dylan Napa.
The six-hour saga surrounding the fitness of Daly Cherry-Evans went through a complete 'will he, won't he' cycle before the Queensland camp issued a statement saying that the Manly half's fitness would be reviewed further on Wednesday.
Some media outlets ruled him out altogether as Morgan joined the camp in Brisbane but Meninga hinted that the vacancy left by Cherry-Evans – if indeed there is one – could be filled by 18th man Napa.
Taking note of Laurie Daley's pine-bending bench that boasts 443kg of New South Wales muscle, Meninga said that he would very much consider adding the 22-year-old to a Queensland bench that also includes Josh McGuire, Matt Gillett and Jacob Lillyman.
"We've seen the New South Wales side now and they've gone with four big boppers on the bench so I'll talk to the selectors and our staff and the senior guys about what we probably need to combat that," said Meninga.
"You've seen how big [Napa] is and how enthusiastic he is and he's playing really good footy. I like the way he plays in a Maroon jersey so he'll come into calculations.
"If Dylan plays he'll handle it from a toughness point of view, definitely."
Brisbane born and bred but domiciled at Bondi with the Roosters since finishing high school, Napa travelled to Papua New Guinea with the Prime Minister's XIII last September where he was given a unique insight into how tough the Kumuls plays their rugby league.
There is no tougher rugby league arena than State of Origin but Napa's experience in PNG should hold him in good stead if he gets the call-up.
"It's probably one of the toughest games I've ever played to be honest," Napa said. "You don't know who the prop is, who the winger is and who the halfback is.
"I asked who the biggest hitter was not to run at him and they said the five-eighth who only came up to my shoulders. So I ran at the biggest bloke and he flogged me as well."
As for Queensland Origin heroes, Napa doesn't cite the likes of Petero Civoniceva, Gorden Tallis, Shane Webcke or Matt Scott but a lightweight fullback who – like Napa – had only one gear: flat out.
"My favourite player was Karmichael Hunt, I thought he was one of the toughest Origin players I'd seen. No fear," said Napa, who represented the Cook Islands at the 2013 World Cup.
"He wasn't the biggest on the field but he'd sprint as straight as he could. I remember he put a shot on Greg Bird and he dropped the ball and it was a big turning point, that was probably one of my favourite Origin moments."