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Knights duo shine with epic Origin performances

State of Origin is the toughest brand of football there is and nib Newcastle Knights duo Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer stood tall.

Ponga scored six boots courtesy of goals but it was his work setting up points which paid dividends for Queensland.

While the fullback took some time to warm into the game with the Maroons rolling out a new-look spine for the series opener, the 21-year-old found his mojo and began producing.

Ponga celebrates first win in Maroons jersey

Aside from his 154 run metres from 23 runs, Ponga produced a brilliant two try assists.

His decision making and ball playing gifted Corey Oates and Dane Gagai.

Ponga also made one linebreak, two linebreak assists and seven tackle breaks.

Ponga’s performance played a vital role in the Maroons’ 18-14 win over New South Wales.

Klemmer was equally as strong but for different reasons.

The big unit led the charge for the Blues in the first half.

Inked: David Klemmer

He played 51 minutes and ran for 149 metres.

"He was going well," Blues coach Brad Fittler said.

"You put a plan together. Didn't give us a reason to bring him off. He did a really good job for us."

Klemmer made 39 metres post-contact and two tackle breaks.

Without the ball, he was just as busy.

The prop made 30 tackles with just one miss.