Walters responds to Ponga Origin II calls

Walters responds to Ponga Origin II calls

Kalyn Ponga is edging closer to a Queensland State of Origin debut after coach Kevin Walters admitted he "can't hold him back for too much longer".

The nib Newcastle Knights fullback was brought into Maroons camp as cover after Billy Slater went down injured ahead of Origin I.

He was even a chance of playing when Dane Gagai suffered a compound dislocation in the team's final training run.

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With calls growing louder for Ponga to get a look in, Walters hinted his number could be called soon.

"Since the opening round everyone has been throwing up his name to play Origin," Walters told Fox Sports' Queenslanders Only.

"The selectors are certainly aware of his ability. It's just what is the right time to blood him?


"Is it game two? It could very well be.

"I can assure all the Queenslanders out there that he is very much in the picture for game two - we can't hold him back for too much longer."

Slater missed the series opener with a hamstring injury but is expected to be available for game II.

The custodian has been named in Melbourne's team to face the Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

What that means for Ponga or utility Anthony Milford remains a mystery but when pressed on team changes for game two, Walters admitted: "There will be some changes.

"Billy Slater hopefully will come back into the side. That will be one definite change," he said.

"As for the rest we will see how the week goes. I am confident we can give a really good account of ourselves on Sunday week."