Former Mount Isa prospect Kalyn Ponga sizzled on his debut as the North Queensland Cowboys ended the Brisbane Broncos season in Townsville on Friday.
In another epic close contest between the two Queensland rivals, the Cowboys prevailed 26-20 in extra time to book a spot in this weekend’s semi final against Cronulla in Sydney.
The 18-year-old Ponga, who still has family in Mount Isa, was called in as a late injury replacement for Antonio Winterstein and had a game to remember producing the most run metres of any Cowboys backline player running 174m.
With just his second touch of the football in the 16th minute, Ponga almost scored a try as he broke the defensive line before being brought to ground by Corey Parker.
Ponga also had two tackle busts and a line-break.
Ponga told Channel Nine after the game he was stoked with the way he debuted.
“In front of this big crowd - I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said.
“I only had a short time to know my role but I tried to just grasp it as soon as I could, tried to be confident, that’s what Greeny (coach Paul Green) said to do.”