Kalyn Ponga came to the Newcastle Knights in 2018 as an unproven commodity.
Former Queensland and Newcastle Knights fullback Robbie O’Davis believes Kalyn Ponga must change his approach to training if he wants to avoid potentially career-threatening damage to his body in the future.
Speaking on The Voluntary Tackle NRL Podcast, O’Davis expressed concerns that Ponga’s body may not be able to cope with his flamboyant running style unless he makes some serious changes to his focus at training.
“He has a massive power base and to move laterally the way he does at the same speed he does forward means something’s going to give,” O’Davis cautioned.
“The Benji Marshalls and the Shaun Johnsons, they’re little guys with massive steps, Kalyn is a big-arse kid who’s got a massive power base… I just really think he’s going to end up with some really bad ankle damage or calf damage”.
Ponga picked up a calf injury during Queensland’s loss to New South Wales in Game 2 of State of Origin in Perth, forcing him out of the big decider in Sydney this week.
The Knights fullback has also been susceptible to ankle and calf injuries over the last 12 months, a point O’Davis believes can only be remedied with a strength regime to suit his unusual body frame.
“I think he doesn’t work too much with weights around the leg area because he has that power base already… or the other way around and he knows that it’s a massive power base for him and it’s where he needs to go, he might be overworking that area and if that happens he can get stress in the lower back and then injuries are going to happen down below,” O’Davis said.
“Ninety-nine per cent of injuries are caused by stress and if he is carrying stress in his body anywhere he’s just going to get those injures down low and the pressure is on him as such as young kid to win these Origin matches and then come back and win for his club, what’s more stressful than that for a young kid.”