Ponga injured, in doubt for Origin III

Steve Zemek
Ponga injured, in doubt for Origin III

Newcastle sensation Kalyn Ponga has suffered a worrying hamstring injury and is racing the clock to be fit for State of Origin II following the Knights' 36-16 NRL loss to Canterbury on Saturday.

The Knights fullback limped from McDonald Jones Stadium in just the 14th minute as a gutsy Bulldogs snapped a four-game losing streak to relieve pressure on the under-siege club.

Just six days after his stunning Queensland debut, Ponga was dragged down awkwardly by debutant Lachlan Lewis and immediately left the field.

On a disastrous evening for the Knights, luckless hooker Slade Griffin also suffered a suspected ACL tear.

The ex-Melbourne journeyman has suffered three ACL ruptures during his career and at one point spent three years out of the NRL.

After moving to Newcastle this year, he appeared to have turned over a new leaf and last weekend made his international debut for New Zealand.

With the Knights reduced to 15 men in the first half, the Dogs ran over the top of the Knights to bring a disastrous month to an end.

The Dogs lost 494 games worth of NRL experience after Moses Mbye and Aaron Woods made mid-season departures and Kieran Foran (foot) and Raymond Faitala-Mariner (knee) suffered season-ending injuries.

Lewis, the nephew of Queensland great Wally Lewis, was solid in his first match while coach Dean Pay also blooded Ofahiki Ogden.

The Knights led 16-12 at the break thanks to a Connor Watson double however the Dogs turned the corner after the break.

Winger Reimis Smith took advantage of a massive overlap to go over, then three minutes later put it on the toe for Jeremy Marshall-King to plant it over the line.

When Nu Brown burrowed over from dummy-half in the 73rd it put the result beyond doubt before skipper Josh Jackson got a deserving try on the bell.