Slater believes Ponga can become next Lockyer in No.1 or No.6

Outgoing Queensland State of Origin fullback Billy Slater has made a stunning statement.

The 35-year-old veteran believes Kalyn Ponga has the flexibility to become the Maroons' long-term fullback or five-eighth in a similar fashion to Darren Lockyer.

The choice is Ponga's.

Having made a stunning Origin debut in the second game of the series, there's no doubt in Slater's mind that the nib Newcastle Knights whiz can dominate whichever position he chooses for years to come.

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"The sky is the limit, at the very least for Kalyn Ponga," Slater said in an interview with NRL.com.

"We all know how good he is and what he's been able to do for the Newcastle Knights year and then to come in and play the way he did in a foreign position in the middle of the field.

"It was so impressive and probably the best debut I've seen. For someone to come in at that age and perform so naturally you see him in the number one jersey but I don't think that is his limit.

"I could see him in the number six jersey as well. He plays very much like a five-eighth. We saw what he did defensively in game two of State of Origin this year.


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"It would be no surprise to me for him to see him emulate what Darren Lockyer did and move to that number six jersey and become the greatest player in the world in that jersey."

Lockyer, a four-time premiership winner, started his career as a fullback where he won a golden boot award.

After 10 years wearing the No.1, Lockyer switched to five-eighth where he won another golden boot and would go on to captain the Maroons.

While there's plenty of differences between Lockyer and Ponga, Slater also said they share many traits.


"They're different style of players but I see Kalyn's game and if he wants to become the best fullback in the game, he's on the right track for that," Slater said.

"If he wants to become the best six in the game, I think he can do that too.

"It goes to show you the ability he's got.

"On top of that, he's got a great attitude. He's a really level headed young man, willing to listen and learn. He's got a bright future."