Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Ever since Newcastle Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga burst onto the scene there has been speculation on when he will eventually make the move from fullback to five-eighth.
At the beginning of the 2019 season Ponga made the position switch for a short time but it seemed he was rushed into the role and was not ready to play in the halves.
The 24-year-old was soon moved back to fullback and has since become the man at the back for the Queensland State of Origin side.
Ponga is currently sitting out the rest of the 2022 NRL season through concussion protocols but could once again transition to five-eighth upon his return next year.
However, this would only occur if the Knights were to successfully sign Manly Sea Eagles player Reuben Garrick, who is being targeted by the Knights according to The Sunday Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield.
“The Sunday Telegraph can reveal it’s part of a plan to get the million-dollar man [Ponga] more involved from the halves,” said Rothfield.
“And it also opens up the fullback role for an attempt to sign Manly Sea Eagles star Rueben Garrick.
“Ponga has returned to non-contact training with the Knights and has been running at five-eighth, not fullback.
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) August 20, 2022
“He’s also told coach Adam O’Brien he is happy to play where it most benefits the side.”
Garrick is currently contracted to the Sea Eagles until the end of 2023 and therefore would need to be granted a release by Manly to move to Newcastle next season.
He has ambitions of becoming a first-string NRL fullback after doing well in the role as a replacement for Tom Trbojevic this year.
This has led some to believe that Garrick will not want to wait for his chance to play at fullback again and may request a release from the Sea Eagles.
If Garrick does decide to see out his contract then the Knights will have to wait until November first before negotiating with him for 2024.
We last saw Garrick play in the Sea Eagles loss to the Titans last week where he got a try and an assist.