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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Superstar to stay with the Knights

Newcastle Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga is set to play for the club until the end of season 2024 after the 22-year-old signed a new deal which keeps him in the red and blue.

According to Ponga, the decision to re-sign was an easy one to make.

“I feel at home here,” Ponga said.

“My family are settled in Newcastle and it just feels right here at the Knights.

“I love the club, my teammates and the main reason I re-signed is because I want to win a competition here.”

A proud Australian, New Zealand European And Maori product, Ponga began his rugby league career in Queensland.

A gifted athlete in rugby, AFL, touch, golf and league, Ponga linked with North Queensland after being scouted by Clint Zammit as a teen and made his first-grade debut in 2016.

But it was after his move to Newcastle in 2018 where Ponga’s star soared, and representative honours came calling.

In his first year at the Knights he became a State of Origin player, finished runner-up in the Dally M and was named the Players’ Champion, an awarded chosen by his peers. He represented Queensland, the following year would also go on to play for the Under 23s Junior Australian team, Australia 9s and the Maori All Stars.

The first round of the 2020 season marked Ponga’s 50th game in the NRL.

A goal-kicker with a freakish ability to create, the 2018 Danny Buderus Medal winner is yet to reach his ceiling.

Knights Chief Executive, Philip Gardner, said the retention of the young star was a huge coup for the Knights and further evidence the club was on track for sustained success.

“We are delighted to have secured Kalyn’s services long-term,” he said.

“It’s a great day for the club, our supporters and region.

“Kalyn is an incredible young man with a wonderful, loving family.

“He loves Newcastle, his family loves Newcastle, and we couldn’t be happier he wanted to extend his tenure.”

In addition to extending his contract for a further three seasons, the fullback has been upgraded for 2021.

Ponga’s father, Andre, said “this decision was based on the positivity Kalyn can see in the club with the future of his football career and his ultimate goal of achieving a premiership”.

“Kalyn’s future is in Newcastle,” he said.

“He loves it here and so does the family. This is his sister, Kayley’s home.

“The family can see the club and people within the organisation is a positive environment, which will help Kalyn continue to grow away from the field.”

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