Queensland has been dealt another blow to its State of Origin hopes, with Kalyn Ponga failing a fitness test on his injured groin ahead of his planned NRL return for Newcastle.
- Ponga has not recovered from an ongoing groin injury
- He had hoped to play for the Knights against the Warriors after missing the club’s past six matches
- The Maroons will name their squad for State of Origin II on Sunday
With State of Origin squads to be named at the end of this weekend’s round of NRL, the latest setback rules Ponga out of contention for the Maroons’ fullback position as they look to level the series in Brisbane on June 27.
The Knights confirmed Ponga, who has now missed the past six NRL matches, could not reach the training intensity and volume required to be declared fit to play the Warriors on Saturday.
The club made it clear he would not be available for the Maroons on Sunday week.
“Next week’s representative round and subsequent week off will be utilised for Kalyn to continue his rehabilitation process and reassess an achievable return to play timeline,” a club statement read.
Ponga was included in the Queensland squad for Origin I in Townsville with hopes he could be fit to play.
But he was forced to pull out because of the groin injury after going into camp ahead of the series opener, which New South Wales convincingly won 50-6.
The Knights had hoped to run out their first-choice spine against the Warriors on Sunday, with Mitchell Pearce also set to return from a pectoral injury.