Kalyn’s back! Ponga puts his concussion worries behind him with stunning try against the Broncos as Knights skipper delivers Origin message to Billy Slater
Kalyn Ponga put his concussion troubles behind him with a stellar try against in Brisbane on Saturday night.
The Newcastle skipper was not selected for Queensland’s 26-18 win in Origin I last month due to concerns over his welfare after another head knock, with Maroons coach Billy Slater opting to pick in-form Broncos fullback Reece Walsh instead for the series opener.
And in the first showdown with the man who replaced him in the Number 1 jersey, Ponga offered a timely reminder of his star quality.
With the Knights trailing by four points and five minutes left in the first half at Suncorp Stadium, Ponga beat Adam Reynolds on the outside to slice through the Broncos defence.
He then sidestepped Walsh with ease to put cross for his team’s second try of the night as the Knights took a 10-6 at the break.
Kalyn Ponga scored a superb try for the Knights against the Broncos on Saturday night
Ponga skipped by Adam Reynolds (left) and galloped half the length of the field to score
The Newcastle skipper came up against Broncos fullback Reece Walsh who replaced him in the Queensland team for Origin I
Ponga’s try capped a superb first half, in which he racked up two line breaks, four tackle busts and five runs for a combined 103 run metres.
The Newcastle star was set to be selected for Origin I before he left the Knights’ 26-6 loss to Cronulla in Round 12 for a head injury assessment.
While he passed the HIA, Slater opted to select Walsh instead and the young Broncos star repaid the faith with a superb performance in the series opener in Adelaide.
Ponga’s issues with concussions have been well documented.
Last season, the 24-year-old underwent five separate HIAs and failed to return to the field on three occasions and there are growing concerns over his short-term outlook.
In March, the Newcastle skipper was knocked out just 90 seconds into his team’s 14-12 win over the Wests Tigers as he suffered a fourth concussion in 10 months.