You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Ponga opens up on leadership structure

Leadership is about more than a 'c' next your name on a team sheet.

It's about more than leading the team out on game day.

That's the message from Kalyn Ponga.

Our No.1 has recently been added to a five man leadership group, which will see the responsibilities of Club captain split between Mitch Barnett, Jayden Brailey, Blake Green, Daniel Saifiti and Ponga himself.

Ponga: Being a leader, improvement areas

"We're all leaders in a sense," Ponga said.

"Leadership skills are something I need to keep evolving and get better at, but I'm just privileged to be in that group.

"Even if I wasn't in the group I'd still want to be a leader amongst the boys and work on my skills in that area." 

For Ponga, those skills translate to leading the team from the back, rather than the front, throughout 2021.

"I know that being a fullback, in that main position you have to be like that (a leader)," he said.

"To be in that leadership group is a privilege and an honour, and to be honest over the last two seasons I've wanted to be a leader within the group."

While his on-field actions are what fans will see on Game Day, Ponga admits he has other areas he needs to keep working on in the leadership arena.

"A lot of what I bring is probably on the field, but there's probably areas of the field I can work on," he said.

"But I think just around training standards and how we perform is probably what makes me a leader.

"We're all different in what we bring to the group, but I think that's the best thing about having a group of leaders."

While five players have been added to the official group, there will be far more than just five players putting their hand up to lead the team throughout the season.

Watch: Inside coach's meeting

Mitchell Pearce, who stepped down from the captaincy role after Christmas, will continue to play his part as a senior player within the squad.

"I've come out of this more motivated than I've ever been," Pearce said.

"Stepping down was no way for me to look for an out to escape from anything.

"I'm still going to be doing my best and leading wherever I can.

"A label doesn't make you change your commitment."

The No.7 was quick to point out he, along with the rest of the squad, had a say in how the make-up of the leadership group was formed.

"I thought we had a lot of growth over the course of our camp last week with the leadership stuff," he said.

"It was a whole team and coach selection thing, everyone who's in that group, I had a big say in that as did the rest of the squad.

"I'm really pumped for the boys that are in there, and I think we'll see more growth in the boys that are in there."

It's no secret that when Pearce is firing, the Knights are winning games.

Pearce: Injury, leadership and team bonding

Look no further than 2019, when a six game winning streak was born off the back of six straight man-of-the-match performances from the former Origin No.7.

For Ponga, this represents why Pearce is such an important part of the team.

"He's a big piece of our puzzle," Ponga said.

"Everyone's got a job in this team, and when you rock up from Monday to Sunday you've got to do your job.

"Pearcey's been the best at that for many years now.

"As a group, we all know that's important."