Ponga doesn't feel like he is being targeted
Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga bounced back in commanding fashion against Parramatta following a tough game against Cronulla in which both he and his team were swamped by an aggressive Sharks outfit.
Ponga came in for plenty of rough treatment in the 48-10 round 12 loss, spending 15 minutes off the field getting a HIA following a high shot from Luke Lewis which attracted a grade one charge from the match review committee.
He also copped an apparent crusher tackle from Wade Graham, though Graham successfully challenged the resulting charge at the judiciary.
The end result was Ponga's least effective game for the club including his second-lowest run metres (89) and tackle busts (four) of the season.
With Mitchell Pearce still a couple of weeks away from a return, it looked as though an out-and-out plan to shut down Ponga may be all that was required to keep the Knights quiet until his return but Ponga and young half Jack Cogger put that theory to bed in a wonderful performance against Parramatta on Saturday night.
"I don't really worry about that [being targeted]," Ponga said after a match in which he was one of the best players on the field, including a whopping nine tackle busts, 168 metres and a try assist.
"I didn't feel like they [the Sharks] were targeting me a lot last week.
"Like anything, if we're all on they've got other players to worry about than just me so if they want to do that then they can do that and that allows other players to do that as well."
With both Pearce and Brock Lamb missing from the halves, it's important Ponga gets some help and both Connor Watson and Jack Cogger played strongly against the Eels.
"Coggs was good ... I think a lot of the players out there were good and that collective effort got us that win," Ponga added.
"It came down to our mentality, our effort and working for each other. We lost it for a bit.
"When things go downwards you can go into your shell and I think a few of the boys did that [during the four straight losses].
"Through a week where we reflected a bit and said 'let's just go out there and work for each other and grind them out' I think we did that, I think we executed the game plan very well. I felt like we were on from the get-go.
"We need to keep this sort of momentum, we can't go into next week poor and fall back into what we did last week against the Sharks, we need to grab some confidence from this and put in another effort next week."
Asked about his supposed flying visit to Queensland Origin camp, Ponga said he'd heard nothing other than what had been on the news.
"I don't know. I literally don't know," the likely future Maroons star shrugged.
"I think the media know something I don't! I've been hearing on the news, it says I'm in camp and I'm sitting there at home. I don't really know. I haven't heard anything. He [Queensland coach Kevin Walters] hasn't called me or come to me about anything, no."