It’s the positional switch that has been the centre of attention at the Newcastle Knights.
Young gun Kalyn Ponga making the move this season from fullback to alongside captain Mitchell Pearce at five-eighth.
It’s only been one match in for the dynamic duo, but a quieter than usual performance last week against the Sharks saw questions asked again.
Will he have more freedom and opportunity will the ball? Can he thrive in the position.
Knights head coach Nathan Brown thinks so.
He believes his star player wants to make it work, so over time it will.
“KP is high end quality talent, he’s a high achiever and those blokes generally learn much quicker,” said Brown.
Brown admits the switch from fullback to five-eighth or vice versa is not uncommon in rugby league these days.
Smart players can transition seamlessly and even become a more complete player for it.
While the Sharks match demonstrated Ponga will be more active in the defensive stakes, coaching staff believe it will be good for the 20-year-old.
“One of things that excited Kalyn about going to five-eighth is that he actually likes tackling,” Brown commented.
“Kalyn’s number one talent for the team is his offensive play. If he goes chasing too many tackles, that can knock him around a little, but if he’s smart about it, he’ll learn true experience of when to do it and when not to do it.
“Kalyn is probably going to learn some lessons in the front line, which is very different, and he’s learning quite well because he’s a good learner.”
Brown has no doubt Ponga’s competitiveness will be a game changer, wherever he plays.
“Kalyn is a winning player, he wants to be the best he can be and sometimes he will turn a game with his defence or his attack,” he said.