Walters: 'It’s time for him to show what he can do'

Queensland coach Kevin Walters has a plan for how to best use Kalyn Ponga in his State of Origin debut on Sunday.

The nib Newcastle Knights fullback has been named in Walter's 18-man squad but the coach all but confirmed Ponga will play in game two.

With the series on the line, someone of Ponga's ilk could prove a game changer.

While Billy Slater is expected to be fit to play fullback, Ponga can fill several roles.

It's expected Ponga will wear jersey No.14 and make his Origin debut from the bench.

"We have some plans around how we want to use Kalyn," Walters said.

The 20-year-old made his first-grade debut for North Queensland in an NRL final on the wing despite starring at fullback for the Knights this season.

He's also no stranger to the halves which adds to his versatility.


Ponga's selection sees Anthony Milford drop out of the Maroons side from game one but just how Walters uses Ponga in Sydney on June 24 remains a mystery.

"We've proved in the past how we can use our utilities," Walters said.

"He has ability. He's been a standout for Newcastle.

"It's time for him to show what he can do, without putting too much pressure on him."

While Slater missed Melbourne's win over Newcastle on Sunday with a hamstring complaint, the Maroons have named him in their side and expect him to take the field to face NSW.

According to Walters, the return of Slater isn't just a great opportunity for Ponga to learn from one of the greats but aids the entire squad as they attempt to level the series.

"Billy is going to help everyone, not just Kalyn," Walters said.

"We need everyone wearing a Queensland jumper to do their job."