Dylan Napa (left) is ready to step up in the absence of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for the Roosters.Sydney Roosters enforcer Dylan Napa has declared himself ready to reclaim his role as forward pack leader in the absence of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for the next month.
Waerea-Hargreaves was on Monday ruled out for up to the opening week of the NRL finals after breaking his ribs in Friday’s win over South Sydney.
His sideline stint is a whack for a Roosters side that has just claimed top spot on the ladder for the first time this year with just three games remaining.
“It’s really tough to lose him but there’s been plenty of games where we’ve played without Jared,” Napa told AAP on Tuesday.
“Our entire Roosters squad have been pushing for spots all year. So while we might be a man down, but it’s next man up.”
And Napa could be just that man, having only returned from injury himself.
The Roosters prop hasn’t played more than 28 minutes off the bench since coming back from a knee injury two weeks ago.
The ladder leaders will need Napa to quickly find his form as they look to replace Waerea-Hargreaves’ high-volume workrate.
The New Zealand international, who had only missed one game so far this year, is averaging 114m and 23 tackles in 46 minutes per game.
He also leads the Roosters forwards in offloads.
Napa’s opening comes after hurting his knee in their round 16 loss to Melbourne that also ruled him out of appearing for Queensland in State of Origin III.
“It was tough to cop, but I’m not the first person to miss an Origin game with injury,” he said.
“It was a little hard to get my running back, but I’m good now. I feel like I’ve been training really well, so we’ll see what happens on the weekend.”
The Roosters are also still without five-eighth Luke Keary, with Ryan Matterson filling in alongside Cooper Cronk in the halves in his absence.
A win against Canberra on Sunday will leave the Roosters in prime position to claim their fourth minor premiership in the past six years.