Arise Sir Kalyn, Knight of the Maroons table
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.