Ponga: ‘Playing for Australia and developing my skill set’

It all started with touch football.

There's no denying Kalyn Ponga is a gifted athlete.

He excelled at golf.

So talented, he was crowned the under-13 golf champion of New Zealand, taking out the national tournament in 2010.

He was a star Aussie Rules and rugby player too.

The truth is, he could easily be starring in a rival code.

Fortunately for the nib Newcastle Knights, rugby league captured his heart but it all began with touch football in Central Queensland.


"A lot of what I do reverts back to touch," Ponga said.

"The skill set, my agility (and) my pace I developed through touch.

"Touch definitely gave me the foundations to then work on and do different things through footy."

So freakishly gifted, Ponga was selected to represent Australia as a teen.

"They picked an under 18s men's Australian side," he recalled.


"I think that was 2015-16. I got to play with some of the boys playing in the (NRL) touch footy comp. It was an awesome experience to play at an elite level, obviously to play for Australia.

"The boys I met, I've kept in touch with and great mates now."

The nib Newcastle Knights have officially launched their men's and women's touch football squads, set to play in the historic 2018 NRL Touch Premiership.


Both representative teams will play prior to the Knights' Round 16 clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown on Saturday, June 30 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

With the games acting as the curtain raiser, the Knights are hopeful of attracting a healthy crowd and Ponga admits, he'll be among the fans watching.


"I love it," he said.

"I'm pretty excited to watch the boys and girls play.

"They play before us, I'll be excited to watch. I've watched the other games that have taken place. It's exciting for touch footy.

"To display it on the big stage is pretty exciting. I'm happy to be sort of involved."

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