In perhaps the selection shock of the season, untested teenage flyer Kalyn Ponga was called up to make his National Rugby League debut in the Cowboys Week 2 elimination final against the Brisbane Broncos.
Injuries to winger Antonio Winterstein and centre Kane Linnett the week before created a vacuum in the outside backs, and Cowboys coach Paul Green had no hesitation in giving Ponga an opportunity on the big stage.
The 18-year-old didn’t disappoint, playing smart and tough in the 26-20 extra-time win, with one run in particular – in which he hot-stepped his way around and through several would-be defenders – leaving the large 1300SMILES Stadium crowd in awe.
The Mackay junior was selected the following weekend and will again be part of Green’s NRL squad in 2017, despite still being eligible for under-20s for the next two seasons.
Average run metres: 118
Tackle breaks: 6