Kalyn Ponga came to the Newcastle Knights in 2018 as an unproven commodity.
He was a freakish talent even before his club debut, as a 19-year-old with only nine games and three tries to his name at North Queensland.
Still, many called his signing a gamble. But Newcastle played the cards and got blackjack.
Since his arrival in the Hunter, Ponga has played three games for Queensland in State of Origin. In his Origin debut, he only stole the damn match and in his second game he was the main protagonist in the Maroons’ comeback.
Sure, Queensland got massacred in his third match, but even Andrew Johns has been on the wrong end of a thrashing.
With reports Ponga will stay in Newcastle until 2025, the coaching of Adam O’Brien is set to make an impact on the entire club.
The signing of Ponga paved the way for more high-class recruits, like Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer, Jayden Brailey and Tyson Frizell.
I’m not tipping Newcastle to win the big one this year, because they have a lot of work left to do, but they’re a dark horse side like Canberra were last year.
For the young KP, we have seen some signs of his brilliance. He played in five games of Newcastle’s six-match winning streak last year, outscoring the opposition 88-66.
In total, Ponga has scored 22 tries and 256 points, compared to fellow fullback Billy Slater’s try-scoring haul of 190, and Graeme Eadie’s point-scoring record of 1917.
I’m not saying he’s going to break those records but you never know what could happen on the football field.
So Roarers, do you think Kalyn Ponga will win a premiership with the Newcastle Knights?