Kalyn Ponga didn't have a favourite playing when he was a child.

It wasn't until he was much older that he started to study the likes of Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson.

As a talented touch footballer, Ponga could relate to the fleet-footed halves but the New Zealand duo weren't the only ones he had an eye for.

Greg Inglis was another he admired.

This year he was able to live out a dream of playing against the Test and Origin star.


While he didn't dream of being steamrolled by the South Sydney skipper, that became a reality at one stage of the game, although upon reflection, Ponga doesn't mind.

"I didn't really have someone that I wanted to play against," Ponga told newcastleknights.com.au.

"It wasn't until late that I was watching Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson and I used to watch a lot of Greg Inglis.

"We played him, I'm not sure what round and I somehow got caught on the short side and he ran straight over me and it was one of those moments where I was like 'wow that was pretty awesome.


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"Even though he ran over me, literally, I got up with a smile because I've watched him do it for so many years and it as pretty cool to see what it felt like.

"Billy Slater now, especially now I'm in and amongst it. I appreciate what he does a bit more.

"I look into his game with a bit more depth rather than his flashy passes at the end."

In part one of his Q and A with the supporters, Ponga credits the likes of Marshall and Johnson for teaching him footwork.


When asked what his advice to young players would be, the custodian said sometimes the best way to learn is by watching.

"Something I always did as a young fella, I was always on YouTube watching highlights and watching the likes of Shaun Johnson and Benji Marshall and just watching what they do," he said.

"Even now, something I want to get better at is analysing and seeing what other players do.

"That and hard work. Nothing beats hard work. You probably hear that enough but it's true.

"The recipe to NRL really, is hard work."