Ponga to join Queensland Origin camp

Queensland chairman of selectors Gene Miles has revealed why Kalyn Ponga was overlooked for the State of Origin series opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 6.

With Billy Slater owning the No.1 jersey and Michael Morgan claiming the utility role, the nib Newcastle Knight will need to bide his time.

While he missed out on selection for the Maroons, Miles confirmed Ponga was on the verge of gaining a call-up.

"The only reason we left him out was because we couldn't fit him in," Miles told NRL.com.

"Obviously Morgan would play the 14 (and) would go back to that utility role.

"The guys that made the side, he wasn't going to force anyone out at this stage.

"If there was an injury, Kalyn would've been one of the first guys called upon. However, he will play a part in the series as well."


Miles revealed the Knights livewire will be welcomed into Maroons camp throughout the series.

Like Felise Kaufusi, who previously joined the squad as a 18th and 19th man last series, Ponga will be brought in to soak up the atmosphere, so he is prepared should he be called on throughout the year or in 2019.

"He'll come into camp, he'll get in and around these guys, get used to State of Origin football because he's going to be a 10-year player, touch wood he stays healthy, but there's no one denying his ability," Miles said.

"Everyone's very aware of what he can and can't do. There's not many things he can't do (but) there's plenty of things he can do.

"He's well within our sights. We'll bring him in and show him some love over the next couple of games."