Dylan Napa has been racing the clock to be fit for Origin II on Sunday night. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Dylan Napa has been racing the clock to be fit for Origin II on Sunday night. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images Chris Hyde

Queensland confident enforcer Napa will play Origin II

QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters expects prop Dylan Napa to overcome an ankle injury and play in Sunday night's must-win State of Origin game two in Sydney.

A final decision was to be made on Napa after the Maroons' captain's run at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, with Melbourne's Tim Glasby on standby.

But Walters believed the Sydney Roosters enforcer was good to go after nursing the ailment through the Maroons'  entire preparation.

"I expect him to play and get through today but if he's not okay we have a ready replacement in (Melbourne forward) Tim Glasby," Walters said.

The Maroons mentor had initially given Napa a deadline of Wednesday to prove his fitness.

Walters had been keen to avoid any more distractions after a nightmare build-up to the series-opener in Melbourne, where three players suffered injury scares and Billy Slater (hamstring) pulled out days before the game.

But Walters has retained Napa after he surprised the coach by showing promising signs at their Gold Coast camp, completing both full training sessions.

Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters is backing Dylan Napa to play on Sunday.
Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters is backing Dylan Napa to play on Sunday.

"I didn't expect him to be running too much on Wednesday but he trained fully with the team, did exactly what was required," Walters said of Napa.

"Thursday was the same and he has pulled up good. There is every indication that he will play."

Walters did not believe he would have to rejig his pack if Napa did not receive a clearance.

There had been speculation lock Josh McGuire would be elevated to the front row, with bench forward Jai Arrow wearing the No.13 jersey, if Napa was cut.

But Walters said on Saturday: "I wouldn't have thought so. We will have a decision around all of that if he is not playing, but I expect him to play.

"He has worked around the clock, it is a clear indication how dedicated he is, he wants to be part of this game."

Walters admitted he might have to curb Napa's aggression on the field.

"He brings first and foremost, aggression. Dylan would be the first to admit that he didn't quite get that right in game one," Walters said.

"If we can get that right he will be a huge asset for the Maroons. That's why we are giving him every opportunity to play."

Walters said the Maroons were pumped up to celebrate veteran fullback Billy Slater's 30th Origin game on Sunday night.

Appearing in his swansong Origin series, Slater, 35, becomes the 11th player and 10th Queenslander to reach the milestone.


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