Sydney Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner has backed teammate Dylan Napa to play State of Origin this year following confirmation Maroons stalwart Matt Scott would miss the series with a knee injury.
The North Queensland Cowboys confirmed on Monday that Scott had torn his ACL during the epic golden point win over Brisbane on Friday night, with the powerhouse prop set for an extended stint on the sidelines.
It's a cruel blow for the Maroons who have already lost Greg Inglis to a knee injury for this year's series.
Scott's absence opens the door for Napa to make his Queensland debut after he missed out on the opportunity in 2016 due to a suspension incurred for breaking curfew during an Emerging Maroons Origin camp earlier that year.
Cordner – who has been widely tipped to lead the Blues this season – said his Roosters teammate had plenty to prove after the suspension and was ready to take the next step in his representative career.
"He was pretty unlucky with the circumstances last year," Cordner said on Monday morning.
"I think he would have gotten a game [had he not been suspended]. As it was, a few of them weren't allowed to [play] so I thought he was unlucky. If he can continue playing good footy this year then I'm sure he'll be there.
"He's always had the fire in him no matter what, but I suppose it gave him that little bit of extra motivation to play well and to put his name up in contention for the Origin team.
"He's 25 and he's had a few years under his belt and he's taken on that leadership role in the forwards along with Jared [Waerea-Hargreaves] so he's really helped us out."
While obviously flattered to be considered for the role, Napa said his biggest focus was ensuring the Roosters continued their impressive start to 2017, with Origin something he'd only start thinking about if the opportunity arose.
"It's a shame that Matt Scott has done his knee. I would never wish that upon anyone. It's a very down time for Matt and I'm sure he's a professional and he'll do everything to get on the paddock," Napa said.
"I'm not too worried about that (playing Origin) at the moment. I'm just worried about playing for the Roosters.
"It (last year's Origin suspension) was a pretty down time for myself. It was a personal goal that I wasn't able to have a crack at achieving, but that is so far gone for me now.
"I'm putting my best foot forward for the Roosters. I train with them six days a week and play with them so I'm just worried about what I can do for the Roosters.
"If something happens around Origin time then I'll be stoked to take it, but it's not really on my mind at the moment."
This article first appeared on NRL.COM