The Queensland Maroons have been dealt a hammer blow ahead of the must-win Game 2 of the 2021 State of Origin series, with star fullback Kalyn Ponga officially ruled out.
The groin injury that ruled the Newcastle jet out of Game 1 of the series will see him miss June 27th’s crucial Game 2, as well as the Knights’ Round 15 clash with the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday.
The Knights have released a statement confirming Ponga’s continuing injury struggle.
“Unfortunately, Ponga hasn’t been able to achieve the training intensity and volume required to return to play,” the club said.
“Next week’s representative round and subsequent week off will be utilised for Kalyn to continue his rehabilitation process and reassess an achievable return to play timeline.”
The blow means Maroons coach Paul Green is reportedly likely to stick with Valentine Holmes in the fullback role for Game 2, with another potential option in the Titans’ AJ Brimson also under his own injury cloud.
Knights coach Adam O’Brien said in a press conference two weeks ago the call to bring Ponga to the Maroons camp in the lead-up to Game 1 of the series may have prolonged his injury concerns. Ponga lasted less than 48 hours at the camp before being ruled out by Queensland medical staff.
Make sure you’re up to date with all the breaking news ahead of Origin 2 with our State of Origin teams page here at The Roar.