Dylan Napa: Former Super League prop ’embracing the moment’ after first Sydney Roosters appearance in almost five years

Ben Olawumi
Dylan Napa - Sydney Roosters

Dylan Napa made his first Sydney Roosters appearance in almost five years over the weekend - Alamy

Ex-Catalans Dragons front-rower Dylan Napa says he’s focusing on the here and now having made his first appearance in the NRL for Sydney Roosters since the 2018 Grand Final.

The 30-year-old, who came through the ranks with the Roosters, made his senior debut for them in 2013 and went on to feature over 100 times before departing for Canterbury Bulldogs ahead of the 2019 season.

Napa’s final Roosters game in his first spell was that Grand Final in 2018 which they won 21-6 against Melbourne Storm.

Five years later, having re-joined ahead of this season on a lower value deal worth a reported $1000 per week, Napa’s first run out back at the Roosters came in Round 24 of the NRL against the Dolphins.

Dylan Napa ’embracing the moment’ after pulling on a Roosters jersey again

Speaking to the Australian media post-match following a 30-14 triumph, the forward said: “I’ve put the jersey back on already a few times when I’ve been 18th man, but to actually play and run out in front of the crowd with my mum and dad there was special. I’m very grateful.

“Earlier on in my career, I probably took things for granted but now I realise how much hard work it takes. Getting older, playing in the NRL doesn’t come as easy and I’m just grateful it came this way for me on my path.

“When I first got back to the club, it (pulling on the jersey again) wasn’t unexpected, it was my goal. You’ve got to work for goals before you can achieve them, but it’s pleasing [to have done it now].

“I’m just taking it day by day at the moment, and I’m happy doing that. I don’t know where I’ll be in 12 months’ time, but I know where I am tomorrow and today, so that’s where my focus is. That’s what I’m putting all my energy into, and we’ll just see where I am in 12 months.

“I take my life day by day and don’t think too much into the future, I always think you’ve just got to embrace the moment otherwise you’ll miss it. I’m here now, I’m enjoying it, and I’m going to be doing everything that I can to pull the jersey on again.

Recovering from a poor spell in Super League

After three years with Canterbury, Napa made the move to Super League with Catalans Dragons ahead of 2022, penning a two-year deal.

He was sent off on debut against St Helens in Round 1 of that season, receiving a four-game ban for a high hit on Mark Percival.

After 20 appearances, culminating in a disappointing play-off exit on home soil to Leeds Rhinos, Catalans released Napa from his contract by mutual consent a year early so he could make a return to Australia.

The stand-out positive for the prop from that 2022 season was his sole appearance at the delayed 2021 World Cup for Cook Islands, as he ran out against Tonga.

Napa not ready to retire just yet

It’s previously been reported that the Brisbane-born man isn’t ready to retire come the end of this season, though nothing has been confirmed as yet either way.

Napa was asked again about the potential of extending his stay at the Roosters going into 2024, and wasn’t able to shed any more light on the matter.

He was open and honest about his current deal though, admitting the money he’s receiving isn’t the driving factor in him wanting to play on.

The prop added: “I had some conversations with people from the Roosters, and I’m really happy I did have them because I’m in the position that I am now. I got to come and play NRL again for the Roosters.

“I’ll have those conversations [again] when they come [for 2024], but right now I’m just enjoying the moment, training and pulling on the jersey when I get the chance to. I’m doing everything I can to make my body right, train well and do what I need to do.

“I guess those [big] paychecks probably came and went for myself, but I’m really happy with where I’m at at the moment. Money’s never really been a big thing for me. I didn’t have much growing up, so it’s all good.”

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