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Photo: Robb Cox © NRL Photos

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.

2016 STATS

Played: 2
Average run metres
: 118
Tackle breaks: 6

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.