Brisbane had the chance to sign rising Sydney Roosters NRL player Dylan Napa when he was just 17.
On Friday night at Suncorp Stadium, there’s every chance they’ll wish they had.
Napa, who is in line for a possible Queensland State of Origin call-up after a stunning start to the NRL season, is licking his lips at the prospect of taking on the team he supported as a youngster – the same team that showed no interest in his talents until the Roosters did.
The Brisbane-born forward was playing junior football for the North Devils when he was snatched from under the noses of the Broncos by a visiting scout.
“The Broncos weren’t really too keen (on me) but they got keen when they found out,” Napa said.
“I was a little bit dirty that they didn’t want me at the start, so I wanted to go.
“But I respect the Broncos – they’re a great side.
“It should be interesting come Friday night.”
As if the Roosters weren’t angry enough following last week’s loss to Cronulla, the Broncos must now counter a 194cm, 109kg redheaded monster with a score to settle.
Napa, 22, has been named to start on the bench against Brisbane in a match that looms as the biggest test yet for the Wayne Bennett-led resurgence at Red Hill.
After an opening-round loss to premiers South Sydney, Bennett’s men have strung together four wins on the trot to sit second on the ladder, behind only the Rabbitohs on for and against.
The supercoach can sense his plans are starting to come together, much earlier than he had anticipated.
“It’s not in a big way but it’s starting to happen,” Bennett said.
“Winning certainly helps that – it gives you confidence.”
But not even Bennett is sure of what the Broncos, minus co-captain Justin Hodges and pack leader Adam Blair, will produce against one of the competition’s top sides.
“When we played Souths, we didn’t know what we were or where our season might go,” he said.
“That was a real challenge for us.
“Tomorrow night, we go into the game with five games behind us and a few things starting to work for us.
“We’ll be under a lot of pressure, we’ve just got to see where it goes when that comes on us again and how we handle it.”