Kalyn Ponga's dodgy ankle has delivered a double blow to the brilliant young Newcastle fullback –possibly costing him the Dally M Medal and a Kangaroos jumper.
Ponga missed four of the Knights’ last eight games, including the final two, through injury but still led Wednesday night’s medal count heading into the final round before being overtaken by the winner, Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Had injury not struck and he played in those last two games, he may well have been crowned the youngest ever Dally M Medal winner and now be in line for a Kangaroos jumper.
Instead, following surgery a fortnight ago to remove bone spurs and re-attached a ruptured ankle ligament, Ponga was still in a moon boot when accompanied by his mother Adine to the awards.
He is no chance of recovering in time to be considered for selection for the Kangaroos’ end of season games against New Zealand and Tonga.
"Nah, that's rubbed out," he told AAP when asked about his Test chances.
"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 finished in second place in the medal count with 27 points, two behind Tuivasa-Sheck, who picked up three points in his side’s final round win over Canberra.
Remarkably, Knights skipper Mitchell Pearce polled 23 points to finish in the top five despite missing nine games during the middle part of the season after rupturing his pectoral muscle.
He was joint leader before suffering the injury against Wests Tigers in Tamworth.
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