Double heartbreak for Ponga as Roos debut ruled out
KALYN Ponga's hopes of capping off a remarkable first full season in the NRL with a Kangaroos jersey are over, with his recovery from ankle surgery ruling him out.
The Newcastle fullback went under the knife a fortnight ago to fix his problematic left ankle, which ultimately cost him a shot at the NRL's Dally M Medal on Wednesday night.
The 20-year-old - who debuted for Queensland in State of Origin this year - would have been a chance of playing as a bench utility in next month's Tests against New Zealand and Tonga if he had been declared fit.
But Ponga revealed on Wednesday while he should be fit to start pre-season with the Knights in November, he would marginally miss out on recovering in time to be available for Australian selection after originally hoping he'd be back in time.
"Nah, that's rubbed out," he told AAP.
"I'm probably more so looking towards pre-season. I'll just get back for the start of pre-season and look to build and get running and that.
"I think recovery is going alright, I've been in bed for the past week and a half. It's good to finally get out and walk around and put some pressure on it."
Ponga went within a whisker of becoming the youngest player to claim the league's Dally M Medal on Wednesday night, after he was named the Players' Champion at the players' union awards earlier this month.
The Knights star missed the last two games of the season with the ankle injury, but still led with a round to go before being overtaken by the Warriors' Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the last round.
Meanwhile Ponga's news comes after five-eighth James Maloney was also ruled out of the tour on Wednesday with a neck injury.
Daly Cherry-Evans is now firming to reclaim a halves position for the first time in four years, while James Tedesco is expected to be at fullback, Cameron Munster at five-eighth and Damien Cook hooker when the new-look squad is announced on Monday.