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Andrew Johns: Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga "Hasn't Evolved His Game"​​

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Andrew Johns: Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga "Hasn't Evolved His Game"​​

Andrew Johns has gone to town on the Newcastle Knights - and in particular Kalyn Ponga.

Knights legend Johns says the Newcastle superstar "hasn't evolved his game" following the team's 10-4 loss at the hands of Parramatta over the weekend.

After signing a lucrative $4.5million deal to keep him in red and blue for the next four years, the huge expectations placed on Ponga's slender shoulders are clearly beginning to take their toll.

Now, following an inconsistent run of form - where Ponga has shown glimpses of magic - eighth Immortal Johns claims the 22-year-old is falling behind some of the other talented fullbacks the NRL has to offer.

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NRL legend Andrew Johns in action for Australia. Credit: PA
NRL legend Andrew Johns in action for Australia. Credit: PA

"I think (James) Tedesco and Turbo (Tom Trbojevic) have totally gone to another level," Johns told Wide World of Sports.

"I think Kalyn needs to expand on the way he plays.

"Teams do so much homework on the best players so I think you have to evolve the way you play, and I think Kalyn maybe hasn't evolved his game.

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"The last couple of weeks especially he's been quiet.

"It might be a by-product of the way the Knights' attack has gone a little bit stale and misfiring.

"But you look at the other two, Tedesco and Turbo, I don't know how but they keep improving."

In a players' poll released this week, Roosters ace Tedesco and Sea Eagles sensation Trbojevic were judged to be the best fullbacks currently competing.

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James Tedesco of the Sydney Roosters. Credit: Bondi Roosters Twitter
James Tedesco of the Sydney Roosters. Credit: Bondi Roosters Twitter

The duo's fine form gives New South Wales Origin coach Freddie Fittler reason to be cheerful.

"They compete on every play," he said.

"You notice when you watch them play and their teams play, sometimes your side looks like it's just getting into gear. What Teddy and Turbo do - particularly Teddy - he just keep challenging.

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"He keeps probing around dummy half and he'll skip across field. He doesn't just stick to what you perceive as a game plan because his game plan is just to attack the defence, and that's what he does all the time.

"He's forever at them and I don't see Kalyn doing that. Kalyn's just not at them all the time, and those two other boys are just relentless."

Featured Image Credit: Newcastle Knights

Topics: News, Rugby League, nrl, Australia

Max Sherry
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