'Footy nerd' Napa backed for Origin
Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner has backed teammate Dylan Napa to earn a Maroons debut when the Queensland side for the State of Origin series opener is named on Monday afternoon.
Napa and fellow front-rower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves got the better of their Bulldogs counterparts as the Tricolours claimed an important 24-18 win at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The 24-year-old ran for 127 metres and at one stage got under the skin of Bulldogs skipper James Graham midway through the second half.
With Maroons veteran Matt Scott set to miss the series with a knee injury, Napa has emerged as the man most likely to take his spot for Game One on May 31.
An Origin debut would hold extra meaning for Napa after he was one of eight players banned from the side following a breach of curfew in the 2016 Maroons Emerging camp.
Cordner, who has been widely tipped to be named Blues captain in 2017, said Napa would be a perfect fit for Origin and admitted his apprehension at having to run at him should the pair be selected.
"He probably wouldn't be my first choice to run into," Cordner said.
”He's been playing some unreal footy over the past month. He's been knocking on the door for a while now but I think today he played himself into that Queensland team.
"He plays off a lot of emotion and Origin is built on emotion. I know how much he loves Queensland and how much that jersey means to him, and I know he won't do them an injustice if he gets picked."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson revealed Napa was more than just the firebrand prop we see on the field.
"The thing with Dylan is everyone sees him as this big, emotional sort of fiery guy that's a bit goofy, but he's a big footy nerd. He loves watching footy," he said.
"He'll ring or text you during a [match] saying 'did you see this?' or 'did you see that?'
"He's a really intelligent guy who loves his footy. He knows the small parts of the game and that’s what doesn't come across because of his nature, and he doesn't want it to come across because he likes being that relaxed, fiery guy.
"It's important to know that he loves his footy and he loves Queensland, Australia and he loves being a part of the Roosters. That's why we're all cheering for him and we hope he gets there."