Sport Blues coach Brad Fittler expects Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga to be picked for State of Origin

03:55  16 april  2018
03:55  16 april  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

Kalyn Ponga stars in Knights' NRL victory

  Kalyn Ponga stars in Knights' NRL victory Fullback Kalyn Ponga has starred in Newcastle's 15-10 NRL win over Brisbane at McDonald Jones Stadium.Kalyn Ponga has fired Newcastle to a 15-10 NRL win to heap pressure on an out-of-form Brisbane at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

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NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler says the skills of Kalyn Ponga makes him a "nightmare" defensively and admits he is worried about going up against him during State of Origin.

Billy Slater, if fit, should be playing fullback for the Maroons during game one of Origin at the MCG on Wednesday, June 6.

The 34-year-old Storm veteran has made 29 appearances for Queensland since 2004, and the Maroons are a different outfit when he wears the number one jersey.

But, Ponga has starred for Newcastle in what has been an inconsistent start to the season for the Novocastrians, and now QLD coach Kevin Walters has to decide whether to pick the 20-year-old elsewhere.

Ponga enters Maroons Origin consideration

  Ponga enters Maroons Origin consideration Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga has entered Queensland State of Origin contention after starring in Saturday's 15-10 NRL win over Brisbane. Boom fullback Kalyn Ponga says he is ready for the cauldron of State of Origin football with the Newcastle fullback increasingly being spoken about as a Queensland debutant this year.The 20-year-old starred in the Knights' 15-10 NRL win over Brisbane on Saturday, with Mitchell Pearce describing his teammate as the most gifted young footballer he's ever seen.

Kalyn Ponga of the Knights is seen in action.Source: AAP. THE prospect of boom youngster Kalyn Ponga posing questions of the NSW defence sends shudders through NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler .

Queensland and Australian skipper Cameron Smith said age doesn't matter and Ponga would be fine if selected.

“I got an opportunity to play State of Origin after 14 first-grade games, so if he’s (Ponga) playing well enough and he’s the best person to play a role in the Queensland State of Origin team then I can’t see why you wouldn’t select him," Smith said.

Fittler was confident that Walters would pick the youngster.

“Oh, he’d be a nightmare because you just don’t know,” Fittler told said on Sports Sunday.

"They’ll play him off the bench for sure.

“He’d come on and cover anywhere in the backline. He could cover the halves, he covers fullback. Obviously, he could play wing.

“But he looks like a nightmare to tackle.

Ponga has broken the most tackles in the NRL of in 2018 with 48, eight more than the second-placed Dylan Edwards.

Slater and Ponga went head to head in round six, however, it was the elder statesman who left AAMI Park victorious as the hosts ran away 40-14 winners.

Pearce injury to force NSW Origin rethink .
NSW are likely to have a new halfback for this year's State of Origin series following what appears to be a long-term injury to incumbent No.7 Mitchell Pearce.NSW coach Brad Fittler will be forced to pick a new halfback for this year's State of Origin series after Mitchell Pearce suffered a suspected torn pectoral muscle.

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