Napa's passion burns for Origin debut
While the 34 best players from New South Wales and Queensland went toe-to-toe in State of Origin Game III last Wednesday, Roosters prop Dylan Napa watched on with his cousin at home on the couch.
But that's not where he wanted to be.
Napa was one of six Queenslanders stood down earlier this year for breaking curfew whilst in camp for the Emerging Maroons, resulting in a 12-month ban from the interstate series.
The 23-year-old was considered by many to be in contention to make his Maroons debut in 2016, but had to watch on as his would-be teammates earned a 10th series win in the past 11 years.
"It doesn't make me any hungrier. I was hungry as," Napa told NRL.com.
"I didn't need any more motivation to get into the side.
"Origin is just an amazing event. It's a spectacle to watch, and hats off to all the players who are out there because it's a pretty intense domain.
"It's quite fitting that Corey Parker and Paul Gallen finished in a series like that because they've been the backbone of Origin for the last decade."
Napa knows the only way he can fight his way back into the Maroons system is by delivering quality football on a weekly basis for his club.
Parker's retirement has opened the door for someone like Napa to step into the side, but the Roosters firebrand faces stiff competition from incumbent Gavin Cooper, and Cowboys backrower Ethan Lowe.
That challenge starts this weekend against a Melbourne Storm side brimming with Maroons talent, including Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, as well as 18th man for Game Three, Felise Kaufusi.
"I would love to be out there, but so does every Queenslander playing in the NRL," he said.
"The completion for spots is there so I'll be doing everything I can to get my name to the top of that list.
"Hopefully I'll be on the field next year, but it's easier said than done.
"I just need to play some good football for the Roosters first and foremost to put myself in the picture for selection. That's all on me and my form for the Roosters.
"If we keep playing the way we're playing then I don't think they'll be looking too closely at me."