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We’re on track to destroy Kalyn Ponga and Nathan Cleary

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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6 Have your say

    In a comforting sign of public stability, a study of expectations shows Nathan Cleary and Kalyn Ponga are tracking strongly to have their careers destroyed by evil forces such as us.

    With Cleary burdened as saviour and analysts impartially judging Ponga with a minimum one impartial Dally M point per week, both are trending to deflate our unattainable standards at some point before we die.

    An encouraging spike is also expected in coming months, with the hype currently suppressed below the flood levee set to dramatically rise due to the Origin period.

    This should see the pair ready for our tall-poppy harvest right on schedule, just before they develop a drinking problem or flee to France in the middle of the night.

    As we have been promised by ourselves, Cleary will rescue New South Wales and the Origin concept by the 15th minute of Game 1, while Ponga will kinetically infuse Queensland before achieving rugby league’s highest goal, playing for the All Blacks.

    Best of all, we have guaranteed their careers to bear no flat spots.

    The Panther will experience a minor dip with gout at age 65, while the Knights fullback is already in the clear after overcoming Second Minute Syndrome at a scrum stoppage.

    And the greatest aspect of this? If both fail, we’ll be right there to tell them where they went wrong, and pick up our refund in the process.

    The fact there is an appetite for both to be urgently thrust into the Origin arena – especially after Cleary has only walked for two weeks and Ponga is still in tenth grade – provides a reassuring reminder that rugby league simply can’t have nice things.

    Furthermore, it proves we, the public, have thankfully not learnt from lessons past.

    As per protocol, we remain fiercely binary. Everything is still the greatest thing since sliced bread, which coincidentally, this pair invented.

    Overwrought names like Jarrod Mullen, Karl Filiga, Moses Suli, Bryce Cartwright and Britney Spears ring no bells – not at least until Mitchell Pearce has a meltdown and shaves his head on E! Channel.

    That’s why Cleary will easily handle the Blues’ hot-potato halfback position, despite a long-term injury lay-off and the position being declared an exclusion zone by the UN for humanitarian reasons.

    Throwing an untested rookie into the role has worked well for the Blues in the past, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t.

    Nathan Cleary Penrith Panthers NRL Rugby League 2017

    Nathan Cleary (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Additionally, Ponga is a dead-set must for Queensland.

    Forget he’s only played a handful of games and weighs less than the ball, the Maroons’ fullback stocks have plummeted to double figures, plus they are light-on for players from regions other than Queensland.

    Plus, they really need to refresh their approach considering it’s almost 12 months since their last series win.

    So to any contrarian opinions who believe Nathan Cleary and Kalyn Ponga deserve time, be gone. If you want to nurture something with patience and care, get a Bonsai.

    You really need to have some perspective on this pair of one-in-a-million players who are going to save the Earth.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • May 16th 2018 @ 7:32am
      Forty Twenty said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      How many players have had their SOO career ruined by being selected too early? Mullen is often used as an example but I disagree. If he was up to that standard he would have come back into the team a couple of years later like Laurie Daley did. Although Daley , Pearce and Mullen may have been selected too early it had a very minor role to play in their SOO careers. All three like just about every other player selected had the career at that level that matched their abilities despite how they might have started.

      Plenty of rookies do well at SOO and it largely depends on how their team goes as to whether it was considered too early. Langer was too small and too early until he played and he wasn’t.

      Plenty of experienced players probably never fully recovered from playing against the King or Inglis but it wasn’t because they were rookies.

      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 11:02am
        Nat said | May 16th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        You could throw Wallace into that mix. Not for the fact of being too young but poorly treated after a loss and dropped for Pearce and Kimmorley in respective years. He was never the same club player again and lost his preferred #7 position. How well he’s going today proves how good he has always been.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 8:52am
      kk said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Good morning Dane Eldridge,

      You are a learned and generous man. You give Roarers the opportunity of being kinetically infused
      with the energy permeating from your pen in exposing the realities of life and Rugby League.

      I was torn between branding the selection of Cleary 14/11/97…92/182 and Ponga 30/3/98…92/184
      as borderline child abuse or the selfish conscription of ‘if not them who else’

      Fifita is not playing , so Ponga should be safe. Thaiday is too old and fat so Cleary is clear.

      The soft tissue between my ears recalls the words of the great Darren Beadman which went
      something like “You can cook a 2 yo with racing it too early” I have always enjoyed the link
      between Racing and Rugby League. Today James McDonald rides again at Warwick Farm.

      Cleary,Ponga and McDonald have one thing in common. They are very very good at what
      they do .I wish all three an injury free run to the line and plenty of ’em.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 9:10am
      Paul said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      Ponga will go the camp with his Ald brothers, simply so he can learn how to properly scream “Queenslander” when the cameras are on him, but will not actually play a minute, causing the Courier Mail to have two possible headlines “If Ponga had played we’d have won the series 3-nil, or “Imagine what cricket score we’d have racked up if Ponga had a run”

      As for Nathan, he will listen to the Zen like wisdom of his father and mentor Ivan, ” Don’t do it son, if it was good enough for me not to play Origin, it should be good enough for you.”.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 9:49am
      Jewboy said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      IMO it’s not only their football ability but also also what’s ‘between the ears’ that will have a great bearing on their football destiny and what I have seen so far has been impressive
      Both present well, speak well and have that calm level headed approach to their football…..dare I say it Cam Smith qualities.
      I have no doubt they will go on to become future leaders in our game.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 16th 2018 @ 7:18pm
      Ben Wilson said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

      What gifted prospects- reminds me of young Billy Slater tearing up his first Origin. Its absolutely compulsory Qld brings Ponga to learn of the likes of Slater and Boyd. Both kids are ready for Origin

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