Ponga turns from friend to foe in NRL

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Newcastle captain and fullback Kalyn Ponga had the unpleasant task of trying to shutdown the man he enjoyed a stellar State of Origin win with, just 72 hours earlier - Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.

Ponga and Cherry-Evans were crucial in Queensland's courageous 22-12 win on Wednesday night in Brisbane.

But the pair found themselves on opposite sides when the Sea Eagles hosted the Knights at Four Pines Park in Sydney on Saturday night.

Manly ran in six tries to two in a hefty 42-12 result.

Ponga summed up fairly succinctly what he felt playing against his Maroons skipper so soon after the success they enjoyed together at Suncorp Stadium.

"Filthy," Ponga said, with a big smile on his face.

"Look, I had to quickly reset the mindset.

"Obviously I just won an Origin with him and then had to come out here and go against him ... it's just the way it is."

But with Cherry-Evans' 15 kicks for 522 metres, two line-breaks, three try assists and five tackle-buss, Ponga quickly learned how hard it was to contain the 33-year-old.

"We looked at that throughout the week - we knew we had to be good against him as he's such a big part of their side," Ponga said.

"His kicking game is right up there so I knew I'd have to do my job against him.

"There were a few tries when we stopped moving on him (in defence) as he tends to find gaps."

Ponga more than pulled his weight against the Sea Eagles, after his 262 metres, a try and three line-breaks against NSW.

He pulled off two try-saving tackles against the Sea Eagles, ran for 186 metres and busted out of five tackles.

He also chimed in well with hooker Jayden Brailey, who was in his second game back from an Achilles tendon tear in the pre-season, but his first with Ponga who had missed the Knights' past two club games with concussion.

"He's a big part of our team and he's worked hard to get to where he is," Ponga said of Brailey.

"The difference he's made in just two weeks - and he played 80 minutes for us tonight off the back of a six-month injury - is massive."

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