Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Kalyn Ponga has been at the Newcastle Knights since 2018 as one of the club’s marquee players.
When he joined they hadn’t played finals football for five years and were a rebuilding club that did not have a whole lot going for them and were coming off of three straight wooden spoons.
The Knights now have a squad brimming with representative talent and are looking to make the top eight for a third year in a row which is in large part due to the talent, effort and pulling power of Ponga.
On multiple occasions during Newcastle’s rise, it seemed Ponga was set to leave but the fullback always remained loyal in the end.
He currently has an option in his favour for next season and was all but ready to once again display his loyalty to the Knights by opting to remain at the club next year and sign a multi-million dollar contract extension; however, The Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie is reporting that Newcastle has shockingly pulled their offer.
“The Daily Telegraph understands the club and Ponga had agreed to a new five-year contract before the deal was pulled last Friday,” said Ritchie.
EXCLUSIVE: Knights withdraw three-year Kalyn Ponga extension, Dolphins https://t.co/40KbySx2qe via @dailytelegraph
— Dean Ritchie (@BulldogRitchie) April 17, 2022
“Sources close to Ponga and the club claim his father, Andre, wanted authority over when the new deal would be announced publicly, not the club.
“Certain factions inside Newcastle are unsettled at the influence Andre seems to now have at the club.”
Ritchie’s report also states that Newcastle has decided to pull their offer to Ponga in a bid to try and lure Cameron Munster to the club.
It is now very likely that Ponga will sign with the NRL’s newest franchise The Dolphins but it is important to note that the 24-year-old still has full control over whether he stays in Newcastle next year or not despite the Knights pulling their offer as Ponga can choose to activate his player option for 2023.
This move also suggests that Newcastle are focussing a little more on how they will look over the next few years as opposed to the near future as targeting Cameron Munster would mean allowing Ponga to leave then negotiating with the Melbourne five-eighth during next season for a move that would occur in 2024.
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