The nib Newcastle Knights are pleased to announce the contract extension of Queensland State of Origin, Maori All Stars, Australian 23’s and World 9’s representative Kalyn Ponga.
The 22-year-old has signed a new deal which keeps him in the red and blue until the end of season 2024.
According to Ponga, the decision to re-sign was an easy one to make.
“I feel at home here,” Ponga said.
Watch: Kalyn Ponga announces NRL future
“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.”
Knights CEO, Mr Philip Gardner said the retention of the young star is a huge coup for the Knights and further evidence the Club is on track for sustained success.
“We are delighted to have secured Kalyn’s services long-term,” Mr Gardner said.
The best of Kalyn Ponga so far
“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.
“I wish to thank Kalyn, Andre and Adine for their commitment to the Knights and very much look forward to continuing our friendship in the coming years.”
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 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.
“A special thank you must go to Philip Gardner for his help and ease to deal with throughout the negotiation process. The process has been a privilege for the family to be a part of, on Kalyn's behalf.”
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.
In his third season of regular first grade, Ponga is continuing to grow and mature as a player with his retention providing coach Adam O’Brien with stability in the spine, alongside the likes of captain Mitchell Pearce and hooker Jayden Brailey.
“Today is a great day, not only for our team but also for our club supporters and sponsors,” O’Brien said.
“To secure a young man of Kalyn’s talent but also his character and connection with our playing group and staff is a huge boost for our Club. He forms a great connection to our team and importantly, our spine.
“Although he is only young, Kalyn has developed rapidly as a player and genuine leader of our team.
“It is an honour to coach Kalyn. He is already an elite athlete and his development is only going to continue.”