With the signing of 18-year-old Kalyn Ponga announced on Monday, coach Nathan Brown was full of praise for the young fullback when speaking to the media on Tuesday morning.
“Some people look at it as a possible risk,” he explained when asked about the four-year contract.
“But when you look at the background of a player and what they’re like as a person, you realise that he’s going to be a great long-term signing for the Club.”
And while CEO Matt Gidley has confirmed that the terms of Ponga’s contract have been exaggerated, Brown said the fullback has been earmarked as a player of big potential for a long time now.
“Kalyn’s obviously a very talented young player that I think any club would like to have in their system,” he said.
“He’s a player that most people in the game have known about for a fair period now.
“Most people thought he was a player of first grade potential, and when he made his debut as an 18-year-old in the semi-final out of position last season, I think that probably nailed it for everyone.”
It was an eye-catching appearance from Ponga on the wing against the Brisbane Broncos, and triggered plenty of attention.
Brown said he has shown strong character though, and is under no illusions on how hard it is to become a regular first grader.
“For all the attention that he’s had, he’s a very humble kid and he likes training,” Brown said.
“When you meet Kalyn and his family, you realise he comes from a very stable background.”