All Star Blair keen to see Ponga run free

Kalyn Ponga (c) found it hard to make his mark on last season's NRL All Stars match.
Kalyn Ponga (c) found it hard to make his mark on last season's NRL All Stars match.

Maori All Stars forward Adam Blair has not let Nathan Brown forget the restrictions he placed on Kalyn Ponga for last year's NRL All Stars game in Melbourne.

Then Newcastle coach Brown attempted to transition Ponga from fullback to five-eighth at the start of last year.

That meant Ponga donned the No.6 jersey for 2019's All Stars match and struggled as the Maori fell to a heavy defeat at the hands of their Indigenous opponents.

Brown would later abandon Ponga's positional switch before being sacked by the Knights in August last year.

With the 46-year-old now on the coaching staff at the Warriors, Blair has spent the NRL club's pre-season making his views known on the move.

"I've got Brownie over in New Zealand at the moment and there's always a little poke here and there about how much game time he managed to give Kalyn," Blair told AAP.

With new Maori coach David Kidwell promising to take an attacking approach to Saturday's game at Cbus Super Stadium, Blair is excited to see what the Queensland State of Origin fullback can deliver.

"This time around Kalyn's been given the opportunity to be himself, to back himself, which is a lot better than saying he could play 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there," the 33-year-old Blair said.

"It's exciting because we get to play along with Kalyn. We don't get too many options to do that. The things that Kalyn can do, not many people can do.

"To get an opportunity to have him here on our camp, rub shoulders and go out there and just watch him do his thing is pretty cool. If we can keep him out there for the whole time it'd be nice."

Australian Associated Press