PRIDE OF NEDDIES
Last week in The Weekend West, our colleague Steve Butler told the fascinating backstory of Queensland Origin star Kalyn Ponga.
Long before he was a league superstar on a multimillion-dollar contract, Ponga was a WA kid — born in Port Hedland, no less.
Sure, his family might have left Newman for Mt Isa in Queensland when he was just two years old but you know what they say: You can take the kid out of WA but you can’t take WA out of the kid.
Now we’ve established our claim on Kalyn, let’s turn our attention to his old man, Andre, a Kiwi who first came to WA in 1989 to pursue a rugby union dream playing for Nedlands.
That little nugget of info was mentioned in Butler’s yarn and did not go unnoticed by the lads down at Neddies.
Having made the Perth club rugby finals for 35 consecutive seasons, Neddies is a proud club, and now has a new source of pride.
“It appears the club has a new favourite son in Andre Ponga — father of Queensland State of Origin rugby league sensation Kalyn,” a Neddies source said. While the exact details of Andre’s time at Nedlands have been lost in the mists of time, there is some doubt over whether he was in Neddies’ 1st XV.
“Andre would have needed his son’s fancy footwork to make the 1989 Neddies premier grade team, which rates as the club’s finest ever, including two former All Blacks in Paul “Bam Bam” Koteka and Murray Watts,” our source revealed.
Andre told The Weekend West there would be up to 100 Ponga family members in town for the inaugural Optus Stadium State of Origin battle on June 23 and Neddies has invited the lot down to the club Thursday week for “steak night”.
“Word has it club president Bob Somerville is even prepared to let Andre draw the meat raffle,” our source said.
Andre and Kalyn.