When Napa ripped through the Rabbitohs
IT was a one-man rampage Phil Gould described as "one of the best defensive displays I've seen in 40 minutes of football from a forward … ever."
South Sydney players have not forgotten the destructive defensive performance of Sydney Roosters prop Dylan Napa against two years ago.
Forwards Sam Burgess, Jason Clark and Chris Grevsmuhl were all on the end of brutal hits in the Roosters' 17-10 win.
No one was spared.
In fact, Burgess copped it twice from Napa in the April 8 match at ANZ Stadium.
Even former Rabbitoh and Napa's current teammate Luke Keary felt the fiery prop's wrath.
Tomorrow night, in what shapes as rugby league's game of the season, Napa is back for round two. And Souths want revenge.
"Dylan Napa had one of the best games of a front-rower," Souths five-eighth Cody Walker said.
"In 2016, they weren't going too good but they ended up pumping us."
Rabbitohs forward Tom Burgess is also wary Napa following that performance.
"He will be one player we have to look at this week and keep a lid on him," Burgess said.
"He is a great player and he has shown that through his career.
"(Napa) came through around the same time as (brother) George in the under 20s. He has always been a standout player, he's played Origin.
"A player does a few good things in a game and he can get highlighted."
Match reports from 2016 had excerpts like: "Napa pulled off countless big hits and the Rabbitohs had little answer" and "The fiery redhead was in everything, pulling off a series of monster hits, including a bone-rattler on Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess."
Napa has been named to come off the bench on Friday night and will no doubt come on when the forwards just start to tire, ready to cause 40-odd minutes of absolute mayhem.
In a boost for the NRL after last week's poor crowd turnouts, more than 30,000 people are expected to pour through the gates as the third-placed Roosters look to leapfrog the Rabbitohs into first place on the premiership ladder.
"It's always a huge game against those blokes," Walker said.
The Roosters are $3.75 outright premiership favourites with the TAB for the first time since round five, with South Sydney ($4) and Melbourne ($4.25) on the next lines of betting.
"In an unpredictable season, the market indicates two of the Roosters, Souths and Melbourne will be playing in the grand final," TAB's Gerard Middleton said.
"They seem to have drawn clear of the rest, although if Penrith can fix their starts, they could end up the team no one wants to play in the finals."