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Nathan Brown doesn’t rule out halves return for Kalyn Ponga

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown says he can’t rule out a move back to the halves for young superstar Kalyn Ponga if it becomes a “necessity”.

Ponga starred for Newcastle on Sunday as the Knights turned things around in the Hunter with a 28-14 upset victory over Eels to get their season back on track.

The 21-year-old prodigy got things going scoring a long range try as Newcastle burst out to a 20-0 lead in the opening half hour – as they looked a completely different side from the one who were obliterated by the Titans just one week earlier.

Ponga began the season at five-eighth, however the experiment was over after just three weeks as he resumed his role at the back.

Brown told Halftime it’s about finding the best balance for the team.

“Injuries will play a factor, there’s no doubt about that and who’s on the field when certain people are fit,” Brown said.

“Hopefully we get Kurt (Mann) back, who’s a player that can cover a number of positions just like Connor (Watson) and we find out what our best balanced squad is.

“In an ideal world we can try to keep it that way.

“If our main sort of halves are fit, KP will stay at fullback.

“If we had to move him out of necessity, we know he can go there and do a good job and he’s done plenty of training there.”

Ponga has played 36 First Grade games but has set the competition alight since first debuting for the Cowboys in 2016.

Barring the horror show on the Gold Coast, the Knights have lost four games by eight points to leave them sitting in 11th place with just the two wins.

Newcastle travel across the Tasman to play the Warriors on Sunday in round eight.


Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.