Weeks after his controversial tackle broke an opponent’s jaw, fiery prop Dylan Napa has been urged to be at his aggressive best by Queensland in next week’s State of Origin opener in Melbourne.
But Maroons chairman of selectors Gene Miles is confident a “fired up” Napa won’t cross the line at the MCG.
Barely a fortnight ago Sydney Roosters enforcer Napa was painted as the villain after breaking Bronco Korbin Sims’ jaw in a sickening head clash in their round 11 NRL match.
Napa was sin-binned over the incident but escaped being charged by the match review committee, earning the ire of Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett and even NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
Miles, however, said the Maroons wouldn’t be asking Napa to tone down his physical approach in the series-opener.
“I want the fired up Dylan Napa. I think all Queenslanders do,” he said.
“You don’t want him to change too many things.
“His greatest asset is his aggression. We want him as aggressive as possible.”
But Miles added: “There is a fine line there and he’s not to cross it.
“But State of Origin … it’s his backyard. He is made for Origin.”
Napa will pack down in the Maroons front row with Gold Coast’s Jarrod Wallace, who kept veteran Test prop Matt Scott out of the side.
Miles admitted Queensland would need Napa at his brutal best against a giant, mobile NSW pack.
“I think our 8 (Napa) and 10 (Wallace) will do a fair job and if they don’t we won’t win – it’s as simple as that,” Miles said.
“Origin is won up front. If they don’t do their job we can’t ask (halves) Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster to do their job.”
Queensland coach Kevin Walters hoped Napa and Wallace would spearhead a Maroons pack missing Scott and Test backrower Matt Gillett (neck).
Brisbane lock Josh McGuire has been picked despite missing the last five NRL rounds with an ankle injury while Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough, Gold Coast forward Jai Arrow and Melbourne back-rower Felise Kaufusi will make their Origin debut.
“I think the game starts with our forwards,” Walters said.
“I am not expecting our forwards to dominate their forwards but at least keep an even keel with them to give our halves the chance to shape the game.”
Napa and Wallace have played a total of five Origins but Miles backed them to rise to the challenge in Melbourne.
“They realise the responsibility but I am pretty confident,” Miles said.
“They are young, they don’t fear too much these days.
“All they have to do is cart the ball forward and don’t make any mistakes.”