Sport Rugby League Kalyn Ponga to debut as Queensland names State of Origin II squad

Kalyn Ponga to debut as Queensland names State of Origin II squad

State of Origin Kalyn Ponga
Kalyn Ponga is set to make his State of Origin debut. Photo: AAP
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Kalyn Ponga is set to debut for a Queensland side aiming to level the State of Origin equation on Sunday.

Maroons coach Kevin Walters named an 18-man squad on Monday after a weekend that featured injury concerns to a host of key players.

While both are named in the squad, Billy Slater (hamstring) and Dylan Napa (ankle) will be given until Wednesday to prove their fitness.

Ponga has taken Anthony Milford’s place in the squad, with Walters indicating the 20-year-old’s form was too hard to ignore.

“He’s been playing some good football for Newcastle Knights this year and knocking on the door; very close in game one and we expect to have him in game two,” the coach said.

“We’ve got some plans about how we want to use him, going to be a long-term player for us and grateful we’ve got him into the side this time around.”

Walters said Slater was “right to go” but would need to train well on Wednesday to cement his place at the back, where he will replace Michael Morgan (bicep).

The make-up of the pack will depend on how Napa pulls up this week, with in-form Tim Glasby waiting in the wings after missing the series-opening 22-12 loss to NSW.

Ponga is expected to start off the bench, with chairman of selectors Gene Miles saying the nature of the game will dictate exactly what kind of role he plays.

Queensland squad: Jai Arrow, Will Chambers, Gavin Cooper, Dane Gagai, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes, Ben Hunt, Greg Inglis, Felise Kaufusi, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, Cameron Munster, Dylan Napa, Josh Papalii, Kalyn Ponga, Billy Slater, Jarrod Wallace.