Queensland Maroons’ back line could take another hit with star fullback Kalyn Ponga potentially being ruled out of the upcoming series due to a shoulder injury.
The 22-year-old has suffered a labral tear in his shoulder, with surgery likely on the cards for the Queensland’s incumbent No.1.
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The Knights want their marquee player to undergo surgery sooner rather than later so his pre-season is not disrupted.
Rehabilitation time could take as long as four months, therefore if Ponga was to go under the knife after Origin he would miss the start of the 2021 season.
Ponga, could, however opt to play for the Maroons before having surgery. Speaking on NRL360, The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent revealed that Ponga was fed up with life in the bubble and the shoulder injury was another complication in his thinking.
“I think (new Queensland coach) Wayne (Bennett) will get on the phone and try and convince him to play,” Kent said.
“I’m led to believe it’s wear and tear and he’s had this for some time.
“I think he’s carried it for a while. There was talk he was going to pull out of Origin anyway, along with the shoulder which is clearly a problem.
“Life in the bubble has worn him down as well, everything has piled on and I think it was long odds for him to play Origin anyway.”
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Ponga’s injury is another blow to Queensland’s back line after already losing Michael Morgan, Moses Mbye and Kyle Feldt — who was in line for his debut — all due to injury. Titans star forward David Fifita is also unlikely to play, while Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster needs to overcome a knee injury.
On top of that, Valentine Holmes will miss Game One due to suspension.
Queensland legend Billy Slater was shocked by the news and believes if Ponga is ruled out, Titans gun AJ Brimson could fill the spot.
“Huge news for Kalyn Ponga and also the Queenslanders. He’s a big part of that Queensland team.,” he told WWOS Radio.
“I’m not sure what to make of that but it will be very disappointing if Kalyn Ponga is not available for Origin this year.
“AJ Brimson has been playing outstanding football so he would certainly come into contention for that position but it would be great to have Kalyn Ponga out there.”