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Horror blow leaves Queensland Maroons in disarray

Queensland’s State of Origin campaign has taken a massive blow, with the announcement superstar fullback Kalyn Ponga requires shoulder surgery.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas revealed Ponga had suffered a labral tear in his shoulder, which hampered his performance throughout the NRL premiership.

The 22-year-old will need off-season surgery, potentially meaning he will miss November’s historic Origin series.

The Australian’s Brent Read told NRL Tonight the Maroons would be informed of Ponga’s availability on Tuesday, the same day Queensland will name the first members of their 27-man squad.

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“I reckon we’ll have a decision tomorrow as to whether he’s available for Origin. He’s seeing the physio tomorrow,” Read said on Monday.

Kalyn Ponga will require shoulder reconstruction surgery after scans revealed a torn labrum (cartilage) in his shoulder, could miss Origin (via @MichaelChammas). Has been playing with the injury for weeks, see this commonly in NRL (play through then reco surgery in offseason)

As explained by The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent on Fox League’s NRL 360, the Newcastle Knights would be eager for Ponga to undertake surgery as soon as possible, ensuring he recovers before the 2021 premiership kicks off in March.

“Certainly they’re going to be pushing him (to have surgery) sooner rather than later, and I think (Queensland Maroons coach Wayne Bennett) will get on the phone and convince him to get it after Origin,” Kent said on Monday evening.

“There was talk he was going to pull out of Origin anyway. Along with the shoulder, which is clearly a problem, life in the bubble has worn him down as well, and I think everything just piled on, and he was long odds to play Origin anyway.”

Queensland’s backline has already lost several high-profile players through injury, including Michael Morgan, Moses Mbye and potential debutant Kyle Feldt.

Kalyn Ponga has played three State of Origin matches.Source:AAP

The Daily Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield argued Gold Coast Titans star AJ Brimson is a better option for the Maroons.

“You saw enough of AJ Brimson at the back-end of the year to know he’ll handle Origin, seriously,” Rothfield said on NRL 360.

“If you wouldn’t want him fully fit, compared to Ponga who’s carrying a shoulder injury, there’s no betting.

“You can’t carry players into that level of football and that intensity needing shoulder surgery.

“He hasn’t played anywhere near a million dollar footballer’s pay packet, and this (injury) is probably the reason why.
“He hasn’t been going awful, but he hasn’t been playing like the Kalyn Ponga we know.”

No Ponga, no problem!
1. Munster
2. Brimson
3. Gagai
4. Sami
5. Mulitalo
6. Hunt
7. DCE

Other options – Coates, Corey Thompson, Corey Allan, Enari Tuala, Hymel Hunt.

Don’t forget – QLD have won Origins with plenty who came in & did a job – Bell, Mogg [email protected] @NRLonNine

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Queensland legend Billy Slater also backed Brimson to wear the No. 1 jersey next month.

“Huge news for Kalyn Ponga and also the Queenslanders. He’s a big part of that Queensland team.,” Slater told WWOS Radio.

“I’m not sure what to make of that, but it will be very disappointing if Kalyn Ponga is not available for Origin this year.

“AJ Brimson has been playing outstanding football so he would certainly come into contention for that position, but it would be great to have Kalyn Ponga out there.”

Newcastle were eliminated from the NRL premiership after Sunday afternoon’s 46-20 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.

The 2020 State of Origin series kicks off with game one at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday, November 4.

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