'Lunatic' Napa a big asset, says Lillyman
MAROONS "madman" Dylan Napa has emerged as the secret weapon to combat NSW's forward strength, with the debutant set to be unleashed on the Blues pack in tonight's Origin opener.
Ineligible for selection in last year's series after a misdemeanour at an Emerging Origin camp, Napa is set to take out 12 months of frustration on what many regard as a dominant Blues pack.
Teammates can't wait for the fiery redhead to be let loose, with veteran campaigners believing the young gun can provide the physically damaging runs needed to help the Maroons gain the upper hand.
Bench forward Jacob Lillyman said it was an asset to have a "lunatic" in the squad.
"He's not too quiet big Dilly, he doesn't lack confidence," Lillyman said.
"He is wired a bit differently, the big fella. He is a bit mad. He has been awesome, obviously he brings a lot to the side. He has been waiting for his shot for a while and he has got it.
"He will grab it with both hands. He provides entertainment on the side."
But Napa was not picked for light relief.
Without the injured Matt Scott's relentless go-forward and aggression, Napa has huge shoes to fill starting in the front row, and Lillyman backed him to step up.
"He is such a big body, he is a massive bloke and plays the game hard. Added to that, he is so pumped and fired up and ready to go," Lillyman said.
"There is going to be some artillery flying around. He is a real physical player, he brings that presence and he will look to assert that."
Napa's Roosters teammate Aidan Guerra said Napa would not need to be given a rev up, with his natural game perfectly suited to tonight's arena.
"Everyone knows the way Dylan plays and that's why he's been touted as an Origin-brand player for many years," he said.
"Naps is a pretty calm character away from football, you'd almost say he's docile.
"But out on that field he fires up and a lot of people are excited, and I'm one of them, to see how he goes tonight.
"If you're silly enough to bait him (go ahead but) I know I wouldn't be baiting him if I was up against him."
The highly fancied Blues pack can expect some "ranga rage" headed their way tonight but Napa has been backed to keep his cool.
"I don't think he is at risk of doing something silly," Lillyman said.
"Everything will be within the rules of the game."