Napa still a mummy's boy at heart
Ever since his junior days Dylan Napa has earned a fearsome reputation as a player who irons others out but ahead of his maiden Origin call-up he has revealed that his mother Karen still worries about her little boy getting hurt.
Forced to wait 12 months to be selected for Queensland after missing curfew in the pre-season Emerging Origin camp, Napa has been named to start alongside Nate Myles in the front row against the Blues next Wednesday night.
Roosters and Queensland teammate Aidan Guerra can't wait to see what Napa can deliver with the emotion of Origin coursing through his veins but for now even being selected is a realisation of a boyhood dream for the 24-year-old.
Dylan's father Stan was a legend with Norths in the old Brisbane Rugby League days and the towering prop said that he has a duty to represent his family and state with pride when he makes his Origin debut.
"I called Mum on Sunday night and she was over the moon," Napa said.
"There was a lot of talk of when they were naming the teams and my name got brought up a lot and she was worried that I was going to get injured on Sunday against the Bulldogs.
"It was awesome to tell Mum and Dad. Just thinking about having the last name 'Napa' on a Queensland Maroons jersey, I just want to do my family proud.
"I get pretty emotional thinking about the Maroons jersey. You know the legacy that the guys have built over the last decade and what culture they've made here.
"I'm just so thankful that I've got an opportunity to be a part of it and I'm going to take it with both hands."
For the first two nights of camp Napa was paired with veteran Queensland prop Nate Myles and intends to spend the week absorbing as much as he can from a player with experience in 31 previous Origin appearances.
"I'm just trying to soak in every bit of information I can on and off the field of how he conducts himself," Napa said of Myles.
"He's played 31 Origins and I'm about to play my first on Wednesday so we're on the opposite ends of the scale so I'm just trying to soak it all in."
For Guerra, the prospect of seeing Napa take to the Origin arena is one that excites him greatly, his selection reminding him of the moment he was called up to play for Queensland for the first time three years ago.
"I saw him the night that he got told that he was going to be playing and as you can imagine he was pretty happy when he got that call," Guerra told NRL.com.
"I actually felt a little bit of emotion for him because it wasn't that long ago that I got told that.
"We were in the car heading to the airport the next day and I asked him if he was excited and he just nodded his head and said, 'Yeah, bloody oath.'
"I'm excited to see what he does at Origin level because obviously it demands you to do those extra efforts. He's pretty imposing on the field when he's pretty relaxed; I'm looking forward to seeing him when he's worked up.
"He's pretty confrontational in the games and he likes them battles so when the game starts it won't just be him against one guy because all of the players on the other side have that reputation.
"I'd say he'll be trying to go after all of them."
On Sunday his mother no doubt winced every time he and Bulldogs prop David Klemmer met ferociously in the middle but the red-headed Rooster says it will be anything but a one-man mission on Wednesday.
"It's pretty obvious that it's an emotional game," Napa said.
"There are going to be big collisions and you look around and we've got a few big boys ourselves in [Josh] Papalii and Nate Myles and [Jacobb] Lillyman.
"I'm not too worried about that at the moment, I'm just worried about not letting my teammates down."
This article first appeared on NRL.COM