First step to NRL career for Ponga

Former Palmerston North teen Kalyn Ponga has taken another big step in his rugby league career.

The 15-year-old was again named in the Australian U-15 squad as fullback after the Australian schoolboys championship.

Ponga, who moved to Australia with his family in 2011, captained the Queensland team who beat New South Wales 26-12 in the final.

It is the second year he has been named in the under-15 team.

He was named MVP of this year's schoolboy tournament and was one of five Queensland players in the Australian merit team.

Ponga and his family moved to Brisbane from MacKay in northern Queensland so Ponga could attend Brisbane school Anglican Church Grammar School on a three-year rugby union-athletics scholarship.

NRL players like Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker and Bradley Clyde have come through the tournament, which is a hot spot for NRL clubs and player agents trying to spot new talent.

Ponga is on a three-year deal with the Brisbane Broncos as part of their development programme, but he has other NRL clubs courting him.

The Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Melbourne Storm have shown interest in the youngster.

At the end of November, Ponga will be allowed to sign with a club and the Broncos are keen to keep him on their books.

Even with all the interest though, there is still a long way before Ponga reaches the NRL.

Manawatu Standard