National News

Qld's Ponga refuses to discuss rugby call

Kalyn Ponga has refused to talk about whether he wants to be a Wallaby.

But the Queensland No.1 has declared he wants to be the next Johnathan Thurston.

Ponga, 21, may be preparing for Sunday's State of Origin II in Perth where Queensland can seal a series-clinching victory.

However, Ponga was on Tuesday peppered by questions about another code.

It was revealed last week that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika spoke with Ponga in what was believed to be a bid to lure the NRL star to rugby.

While Ponga confirmed the phone call, he repeatedly knocked back questions about a possible code switch.

"That (call) was ages ago. But I don't want to touch on that," said Ponga, who is contracted to NRL club Newcastle until the end of the 2021.

Asked if rugby was a future option, Ponga said: "I don't want to touch on that, I am here to focus on Queensland."

The Maroons' X-factor was more forthcoming on his rugby league plans, saying he wanted to emulate NRL great and former North Queensland teammate Thurston.

Ponga made his NRL debut at the Cowboys and played alongside future Immortal Thurston in 2016 and 2017 before his move to Newcastle.

He missed a chance to play Origin with his idol Thurston, who retired from representative football last year when Ponga made his Maroons debut.

However, Ponga hoped lessons learned from Thurston at the Cowboys would help him step up as the next Origin great.

"I would love to be the next JT. That would be cool," said Ponga, who has played just two Origins.

"JT is one of the those blokes who doesn't know what he is going to do, he just does it.

"As someone learning I was just watching what he was doing more than him telling me (at Cowboys) because he is just a freak, and does things off the cuff.

"It was inspiring."

Ponga hoped to take his next step toward his lofty rugby league goal in Origin II - just his second game starting for the Maroons.

"The first 10-20 minutes was the fastest footy I had played but I felt comfortable," he said of Queensland's 18-14 Origin I win.

"I want to build on my last performance and get better.

"And winning the last game, the feeling is something you can't describe but I want to feel it again."

© AAP 2019