'I’m itching to get back out there. Motivation wise, I’m keen as'

Kalyn Ponga has assured nib Newcastle Knights supporters he’s “ticking all the boxes” heading into Round 18 against the Sydney Roosters.

Ponga is a confirmed starter to return this Saturday following a calf strain which he sustained during game two of the State of Origin series.

In a big boost for the Club, Ponga is confident about his physical and mental state heading into the match.

“I ran today with the boys, it’s good to be back. I’m over running and doing conditioning, but it was good to get the ball in the hand, felt really good,” Ponga said.

“I’m pretty confident, ticking all the boxes.

“Physically it’s been pretty hard. When your injured and in rehab they sort of push a little bit more. Mentally it’s been quite nice actually, just to relax. Not relax too much, like I said, physically it’s been hard.

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“Just get my mind back to what’s important and focussing. I’m able to play this week which is exciting. It’s been hard watching the boys lose, never like to watch that. But hopefully we can bounce back and be better.”

Having missed the previous two club games, Ponga’s determination is peaking heading into the match against the Roosters.

“I’m itching to get back out there. So, motivation wise, I’m keen as. I’m excited to play with the boys, put the jersey on and run out,” he said.

Having beaten the Chooks at McDonald Jones Stadium in Round 11, Ponga expects to face a much different side this week.

“I reckon they’ll be stronger,” he said.

“Obviously in the last game, they were missing, well (Luke) Keary was out early, hooker wasn’t there so they’ll definitely be better. Everyone’s better this time of the year.

“So, 100%, we’ve got to be, well we definitely have to be better than last week. But with everyone coming back and our focus being the run into the finals I think we’ll be right.”