This week, the Newcastle Knights secured the services of 18-year-old fullback Kalyn Ponga on a four-year-deal commencing in 2018.
Ponga was named in the 2016 National Youth Competition team of the year and played two games for the Cowboys during the finals series. Ponga is from Port Hedland, Western Australia.
He showed his crafty footwork and agility against the Brisbane Broncos in the semi-final earlier in September. CEO Matt Gidley was delighted and said in a statement that he can’t wait.
“To secure Kalyn from 2018 is really pleasing for everyone at the Club,” CEO Matt Gidley said.
“Kalyn made this decision with his family and he’s excited to be a part of the future of our Club.”
Ponga is contracted to the Cowboys and will be expected to play in 2017 but an early release could change things.
Gidley says: “Should the Cowboys decide to release Kalyn before the conclusion of his contract, we would certainly welcome him to the Club at an earlier date.”
Gidley outlined in a press conference that it was solely a financial decision.
“If it was purely down to financial reasons, Kalyn wouldn’t have come to the Club,” Gidley explained.
“The opportunity to come to Newcastle and grow with our young team was appealing to him.
“We were probably the longest odds of getting Kalyn at the start of this, so there were a lot of people involved in securing his services.”
The Knights are looking bright in recruiting younger talent for the next coming seasons. Coach Nathan Brown says the plan is coming together with Ponga joining the mix. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of Kalyn Ponga running with the ball from the NRL Twitter feed.