Arise Sir Ka­lyn, Knight of the Ma­roons ta­ble

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - League Central -

SO you think the hype sur­round­ing New­cas­tle’s star teenage re­cruit Ka­lyn Ponga is over the top? Think again. Mal Meninga, Justin Hodges and Billy Moore were talk­ing about the 19-year-old on Fox League’s Queens­lan­ders Only this week. Three State of Ori­gin leg­ends dis­cussing Ponga’s New­cas­tle de­but against Manly, when he scored a try, saved two and kicked three goals from as many at­tempts in the gold­en­point win. De­bat­ing Ponga’s fu­ture Ori­gin cre­den­tials when the Ma­roons’ No.1 jumper be­comes avail­able, Moore said: “For some­one that young, just with his con­fi­dence, it was like, ‘I am made to be here’. When the times comes to take on that cus­to­dian role for Queens­land, I think it is go­ing to be seam­less.” It’s worth em­pha­sis­ing that Moore was sit­ting along­side Meninga and Hodges when he said this. And nei­ther Meninga nor Hodges so much as blinked. Re­mem­ber, this is a kid who has played just 10 NRL games. Meninga also praised Ponga’s po­si­tional play and the fact he can kick goals. When New­cas­tle forked out $3 mil­lion over four years for Ponga, most thought it was crazy cash. Af­ter watch­ing Ponga again last Fri­day night, you can’t help but think the Knights may have got them­selves a bar­gain. Years ago there was a story about Par­ra­matta knock­ing back the chance to snap up a school­boy from Pen­rith be­cause they didn’t want to splurge $30,000 on one so young. That school­boy’s name was Brad Fit­tler.

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