Sport Comment: State of Origin: Queensland need Kalyn Ponga, not Billy Slater

13:42  08 june  2018
13:42  08 june  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

Joey's warning to NSW after Billy bombshell

  Joey's warning to NSW after Billy bombshell Blues legend Andrew Johns had bad news for NSW fans hoping that Billy Slater's representative retirement would hurt Queensland in this year's Origin series.Slater, 34, has been a part of the strongest run for Queensland in Origin history, winning 11 of the last 12 series.

Ponga has the temperament, maturity, skills and x-factor that Origin specifically requires.

Take a look back at Maroons veteran fullback Billy Slater and Maroons future star fullback Kalyn Ponga in State of Origin Game II at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.

a man wearing a football uniform© Provided by Sportal com au

The Opening clash of the 2018 State of Origin series made a very strong statement that younger players are the way forward.

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While Michael Morgan was reliable enough at the back, he wasn’t a game breaker either. Slater brings that extra playmaker into the mix, hence why Queensland are so keen to bring him back.

But perhaps it’s time the Maroons closed that chapter as well. Because waiting in the wings is Kalyn Ponga.

If the Blues rookie squad proved anything, it’s that selecting form players has merit. And this year we can all agree that Ponga has been in better form than Slater.

Freddy backs young gun for Origin debut

  Freddy backs young gun for Origin debut New South Wales Origin coach Brad Fittler has suggested that one of Queensland's brightest prospects is ready for the Origin stage in Game 2.Ponga was drafted into the Maroons squad following Billy Slater’s hamstring injury prior to Game 1, but did not partake in Game 1. Following Queensland’s loss in the Origin opener, several experts have called for the 20-year-old to be named to start Game 2.

A couple of Queensland State of Origin legends have backed young Knights star Kalyn Ponga to dominate in the Maroons number one jersey once the time comes. Would QLD 's dominance continue without Slater starring at fullback? Mal Meninga and Billy Moore believe so.

20-year-old prodigy Kalyn Ponga on the bench Origin II to be played in Sydney this Sunday the only change to the Queensland side originally selected for Origin Either way, Glasby would come off the bench. Maroons squad (in likely starting order): Billy Slater , Valentine Holmes, Greg Inglis (capt), Will

The Maroons need a spark at the back. Ponga is a better and more frequent kick returner than Slater, while also proving to be just as adept in the playmaking department as the iconic fullback. Queensland’s attack missed that extra spark in Game I and it is Ponga who can rectify that matter.

As for talk about other players being dropped, it might be best for Queensland to not act too hastily. Largely because there’s little for them to choose from due to injuries and retirements. Perhaps they should look at this series the same as they did in 2004-05.

The 2004-05 Maroons squads contained a number of young players between 20 and 22 years of age; Justin Hodges, Corey Parker, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Brent Tate, Willie Tonga, Matt Bowen and Johnathan Thurston. These men became the backbone of Queensland’s era of dominance starting in 2006. Short term pain for long term gain.

Experience gets bandied around a lot, but it wasn’t an issue when Cameron Smith played his first Origin after just 18 first grade games (two of which were at half back and another two from the bench).

Ponga is in his third season and has played 22 games. Despite having nine first grade games under his belt prior to this year, he has handled the responsibilities of the Knights attack largely on his shoulders since new halfback Mitchell Pearce suffered an injury in Round 7, without any sign of struggle.

He has the temperament, maturity, skills and x-factor that Origin specifically requires.

Origin door not closed on Boyd: Walters .
Queensland coach Kevin Walters says the State of Origin door is still open to Darius Boyd after dismissing speculation the veteran brushed the Maroons camp.After initially overlooking Boyd for game one, it was reported Walters asked the 28 Origin veteran to still go into Maroons camp and train to cover for injury concern Billy Slater ahead of Wednesday's Origin opener.

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