‘He could play tight prop’: Pick of position up to Ponga
IN the wake of Kalyn Ponga's accomplished performance at five-eighth, Nathan Brown said it was up to the young superstar whether he wan`ted to stay in the halves or return to fullback.
An injury to Connor Watson left the door ajar and Ponga showed in the Knights' 20-12 win over the Panthers on Saturday that he is just as dangerous in the playmaking role.
When asked if the 20-year-old's future was in the No.6 jersey, Brown said the decision was Ponga's to make.
"It's Kalyn's career so you'll probably have to ask him that question to be honest with you. Him and Connor are both good at five-eighth and fullback so it's probably more a question for Kalyn than it is for me," he replied.
"Obviously I'm the coach but it's his career and he's only a young kid and he came to us as a fullback but if he wants to stay at five-eighth I don't think [Mitchell] Pearcey would be unhappy."
Indeed, Pearce was full of praise for Ponga's first attempt at five-eighth.
"Yeah I thought Kalyn was awesome, I love playing with him," the Knights skipper gushed.
"This was one of the first weeks we got to train together so I thought we combined really well on a couple of those tries and as I said I love playing with Kalyn. Everyone's stoked he's at the Knights, he's had an unbelievable season."
Brown identified Ponga's increased involvement as one of the major upsides of the switch.
"Kalyn's a good player anywhere. Matty Johns told me he could play tight prop and he'll play good," he said.
"When he is at five-eighth in a lot of ways he gets a little more chance to put himself around the ball and he's got more energy to support that because obviously the fullbacks do a lot, a lot of running."
The coach said Ponga would likely be named at five-eighth again for their clash with the Sharks next Sunday, as long as he pulls up well enough from his niggling ankle injury.
"I'm not sure it really matters where we put him or who coaches him or what club he plays for, he's just going to play good," he added.