Napa accepts three-match ban for McCullough tackle

Dylan Napa will miss three matches after pleading guilty to a grade-three dangerous contact for his controversial hit on Andrew McCullough.

The Roosters prop will sit out this week's clash with Parramatta and his team's first two finals matches after entering the early plea. 

He will be free to return in the grand final if the Roosters win their first two finals to reach the premiership decider, or a week earlier if the team loses in the opening week of the playoffs then reaches the preliminary finals.

McCullough posted on Twitter on Sunday to say he had not been seriously injured.

On Sunday NSW coach Brad Fittler said Napa should shoulder greater responsibility for the tackle which injured the Broncos hooker in the loss to Brisbane on Saturday than the one which left Korbin Sims with a broken jaw in round 11.

The Roosters were notified after the Sims incident that Napa would face suspension if there was another incident where he connected with a player while leading with his head.

''I think they are two [different tackles] ... although he uses the same technique," Fittler said.

"In the first one I thought Sims got off balance and played a bit of a part in getting in that position.

"I thought it was Dylan in this [second] situation, he never got back the 10m, he wasn't quite balanced and then he rushed into the tackle.

"You've got to put a bit of blame on Dylan for this tackle on McCullough because McCullough just headed back in towards the space where Dylan was."

Roosters captain Jake Friend stood up for Napa following the Saturday night match.

The ferocity of the 24th-minute tackle knocked McCullough out. He had to be stretchered off and took no further part in the game, although coach Wayne Bennett doesn't think there is any structural damage to the 28-year-old's jaw.

But the sight of McCullough convulsing on the Allianz Stadium turf turned public opinion against Napa.

Friend offered a little insight into the remorse Napa felt.

"Dylan plays the game hard, but everyone that knows Dylan knows he's a gentleman," Friend said.

"He knows Macca from Queensland [Origin duty] – they are mates. You don't want to see blokes like that on the field.

Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough.
Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"There'd be a bit there that Dylan is feeling. I'm sure he'll message Macca and make sure he's alright.

"In football this stuff happens. It's not nice to see, but it is a contact sport and sometimes it just doesn't go the way it should."

Roosters coach Trent Robinson did not want to be dragged into a debate on this latest incident.

Robinson also would not be drawn in too far on whether Napa's technique – rather than any intent – was the issue.

"He's a physical player in our game. And he's aggressive in the way he goes about that play.

"The first thing is it's not good to see Andrew in that way... If that was Nug (Jake Friend) I wouldn't like to see him that way.

"But I also support Naps and the way he plays the game. People enjoy the physicality in the way he plays."

 
Player  Dylan Napa
Club  Roosters
Minute of match  24th  
Charge/incident  Dangerous Contact - Head/Neck
Charge grade 
Result Guily - early plea
Matches to serve 3
Points/fine calculation 315+25=340
Carry-over points to be added  40
Misconduct on whom?  Andrew McCullough