Newcastle star Kalyn Ponga has suffered an injury during training ahead of his return to Townsville.Newcastle star Kalyn Ponga may not make his much-anticipated return to Townsville after picking up an ankle injury during training.
Ponga had been pencilled in to come back from a hamstring injury against his former club North Queensland but failed to finish the field session on Tuesday.
Five-eighth Connor Watson could also be sidelined with his own ankle issue that prevented him from training, however both players will travel with the team on Wednesday.
Ponga has missed the past two Knights games after injuring his hamstring in round 16.
“His hamstring’s fine but he just rolled his ankle a bit. It’s a bit more precautionary or anything,” Knights coach Nathan Brown told reporters on Tuesday.
“I’m not sure what the situation is with it but he’s running freely and his hamstring’s good, which is pleasing. The main thing is his hamstring’s good. We’ll just have to see how his foot is.”
The inclusion of both Ponga and Watson would be a huge boost for a Knights side that has been without their first choice spine since skipper Mitchell Pearce went down in round seven.
And while hooker Slade Griffin is out for the year with a knee injury, Pearce has since returned to lead the Knights to back-to-back wins over the past fortnight.
Centre Sione Mata’utia is also expected to return from an eye injury against the Cowboys.
“It’s good to be bringing some good players back into a team that’s winning a couple of games, if Sione and KP are both able to play this week,” Brown said.
“If Connor can come through and we have those two boys in the team, it’s obviously pleasing to get them all playing together, especially nine, seven, six and one.”
Brown is also confident Ponga would be able to handle the occasion surrounding his return to Townsville given his impressive State of Origin debut this year.
“I would’ve thought he’d do that okay. As long as he keeps his mind focused on the right things. I think going home would be exciting for him,” Brown saiad.
“If you ask KP he’d tell you about the great things he got out of North Queensland and now he’s coming to Newcastle, it’s a new chapter of his career.”
Australian Associated Press