Queensland veteran Justin Hodges has backed Sydney Roosters enforcer Dylan Napa to fill the Maroons’ State of Origin vacancy created by an injured Josh McGuire.
Bench forward McGuire’s season is over after suffering an achilles injury in Brisbane’s 44-22 NRL thrashing of Newcastle on Friday night.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga will also monitor Darius Boyd, with the Maroons’ winger leaving the field for Brisbane late with a groin complaint.
Meninga names his side on Monday for July 8’s Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Hodges said he liked what he saw from the red-haired 194cm, 109kg Napa when the Roosters’ hit man joined the Origin I camp as 18th man.
“He’s a big lump of a lad,” Hodges said.
“He’s a guy who plays with no fear – that’s what Origin is all about.
“He wouldn’t look out of place in an Origin jersey.
“He wouldn’t let anyone down.”
Napa and Canberra giant Josh Papalii are expected to vie for the interchange vacancy when Meninga names his Origin III side.
Newcastle centre Dane Gagai’s name is expected to feature in a reshuffled Queensland backline – especially after Friday night’s barnstorming display.
The former Bronco scored a try, had three line breaks and amassed 203m in a standout stint in a well-beaten side.
Gagai is set to slot into the Maroons’ backline due to fullback Billy Slater’s season-ending shoulder injury.
Gagai will be on the wing and Will Chambers will move into the centre vacancy created by new No.1 Greg Inglis.
“He knows he is on the fringe of Origin selection, probably been told he is in the Origin team and he wanted to show everyone how good he is,” Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said of Gagai.
“I expected him to play well and he did.”
Boyd added: “He (Gagai) was their best player by a mile and probably been their best all year.
“He had spiders on him – you couldn’t tackle him.
“He is definitely ready (for Origin).”
Boyd played down his groin complaint but confirmed he would visit a physiotherapist on Saturday.
“It is a little bit sore,” he said.
“I was a bit worried. I thought if it was like a hammy, it would be a couple of weeks but it’s not bad.
“I will see how it goes the next couple of days.”