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Ponga pumped for All Stars and No.6 switch

Next week, Kalyn Ponga will wear the No.6 on his back.

A lot has been made of his move into the halves and next Friday’s Harvey Norman All-Stars clash will be the first chance the fans get to see him in action in 2019.   

While much of the focus will be on how he performs in the halves, Ponga is more interested in pulling on a New Zealand Maori jersey for the first time.

Having played five-eighth in 2018 in the nib Newcastle Knights’ win over Penrith, he’s tired of talking about the positional switch.

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“I’ve had 100 questions about it,” Ponga said of the halves move.

“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been working on it over the pre-season so hopefully I can go out there Round 1 and perform.”

With five weeks until their season opener against Cronula, Ponga’s attention has turned to the All Stars clash.

So, what is he expecting from that match?

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“A lot of traffic my way,” he said.

“I think it’ll be fun. A great contest, two cultures colliding. It’s a concept where both teams are going to be proud to be out there. It should be a close game.”

With his father “proud” of him for representing his culture, Ponga is keen use this game as an opportunity to learn.

Ponga admits he doesn’t know much about his heritage with a week in camp a chance for him to connect with his Maori roots.

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“That’s the exciting part about it, I’m going into that camp knowing a little bit,” Ponga said.

“I’m sure they will look after me and teach me more about where I’m from and then I get to put the jersey on and play for the team.”