One more test for Ponga before Origin
KALYN Ponga will have one last shot to prove his worth for Queensland's bench spot with Michael Morgan set to miss the rest of the Origin series.
The Maroons' Mr Fix-It suffered an injury to his biceps in the Cowboys' loss to the Warriors on Friday night and underwent scans on Saturday.
While a Cowboys spokesman said the final diagnosis of Morgan's injury would not be known until Sunday, it is understood Queensland officials have enough information to rule him out for the rest of the series and are preparing for his absence.
The loss of Morgan for games two and three will be a massive hit for the Maroons, after he filled in at fullback for Billy Slater (hamstring) in Origin I.
The Cowboys playmaker has proven a solid utility in recent years but now Queensland will have a battle for that bench spot between Ponga and Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford.
A number of Queensland greats have called for Newcastle sensation Ponga to be handed his Maroons debut and he will have one last chance to impress on Sunday when the Knights take on the Storm at home.
Milford was the bench utility in game one but 20-year-old Ponga has been in outstanding form this season and another strong game could give selectors something to think about.
However, with Slater still in serious doubt for game two, Ponga is also in the frame to start at fullback if required.
Morgan was not the only injury concern for the Maroons following Friday night's matches, after Maroons starting prop Dylan Napa suffered an ankle injury in the Roosters' win over the Panthers.
While scans cleared Napa of any major damage, it is understood he is still in serious doubt for game two after he aggravated an old injury.
Queensland will also not be able to call on Matt Scott to boost their forward stocks, after his neck injury flared up late in the week ahead of the Cowboys' clash with the Warriors.
The veteran prop was a surprise late omission on Friday night and it is unclear how long he could be out for.
The Cowboys will continue to monitor the injury in the hope their co-captain will be fit for their Round 16 clash with the Rabbitohs, but it is understood he is only an outside chance of being fit for Origin II.
Queensland bench forward Coen Hess was left stunned by the growing injury toll but said he had confidence the selectors would be able to replace both Morgan and Napa, if the prop does not recover in time.
"It's pretty tough, especially with the position we're in being down one game," Hess said of Queensland's growing number of injuries.
"I'm sure Kevvie will have a plan in place. No matter who puts on that jersey, they'll be ready to go. I have full confidence in whoever puts on the jersey.
"(Morgan) is made for (Origin). It's pretty disappointing."
The uncertainty around Scott is also a massive blow for North Queensland, who also lost young forward Sam Hoare on Friday night to a season-ending ACL injury.
John Asiata (pectoral) is also not expected back until Round 19, while Jordan McLean (foot) is not due to return until Round 20.