The Newcastle Knights have announced the re-signing of superstar fullback Kalyn Ponga on a five-year deal worth north of $5 million ending the Dolphins’ pursuit of their marquee man.
“Newcastle Knights Captain Kalyn Ponga has signed a new five-year contract, securing his future with the Club until at least the end of 2027,” the Knights confirmed in a statement.
“This new deal will commence for the 2023 season, replacing all existing options and clauses from the current contract.”
“After 76 Knights NRL games, 35 tries and countless magic moments, Ponga has quickly established himself as a marquee player and genuine game breaker, who now leads the Knights into battle as Captain.
“During this time, Ponga has gone on to represent the Queensland Maroons in State of Origin four times and Māori All Stars twice.
“Newcastle Knights and Wests Group CEO Philip Gardner highlighted the significance of the new deal.
“Kalyn is a quality person with great family values,” Gardner said.
“We are delighted to secure his future and look forward to watching him lead this club for a very long time.
“This signature adds to the forward momentum we are building, giving loyal Knights members and the local community another reason to be excited.
“Kalyn sees the vision and direction we have committed to take for the club. He agrees we have the right coach, appreciates the exciting new facilities, and wants to succeed with the Newcastle Knights.
“I want to personally thank Kalyn, and his father Andre, for the respectful manner and professional approach they have applied throughout negotiations.”
Ponga expressed his excitement with the news and the certainty this new five-year contract delivers.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped throughout this process,” Ponga said.
“I’m grateful for the huge amount of time and hard work it has taken to get this new five-year deal completed, especially my family and key people from the club.
“My teammates have been awesome, they have shown me every respect and patience, without any pressure throughout the negotiations.
“We are a very connected group and I am confident there are great things ahead for us.
“It has taken a long time to get to get to this position, I have always said big decisions like these should not be rushed and we have taken the necessary time required.
“There has been a lot of reporting and opinions throughout the last few weeks, which I understand completely, and respect is a part of the game.
“I would like to thank all of those who have given me the respect of allowing me the space and time I needed to come to this decision – I am excited to have it done and now I can get on with contributing to the club and city that I love.”
Ponga joined the Knights in 2018 as an exciting 19-year-old, on a four-year deal. The club identified his unique talent and bright prospects, possessing skills and maturity beyond his young age.
The Knights scheduled a press conference for 2pm today, giving Kalyn Ponga a chance to speak about his impending decision regarding his future.
The 24-year-old is signed until the end of the 2024 season but reportedly has a clause in his favour not to activate the final two years.
Over the weekend, Ponga’s contract extension was reportedly taken off the table, before a dramatic turn of events saw the deal back on.
Now, according to The Daily Telegraph, the gun fullback will reportedly sign a five-year deal worth upwards of $5 million to remain in Newcastle.
The new contract will reportedly remove all options, meaning the speculation surrounding his future will be well and truly over.
Andre Ponga, the gun fullback’s dad, was previously said to be at the centre of the dispute with the Knights about how the extension would be announced.
Now, a press conference has been called which will likely announce the new deal.
The re-signing is a huge blow for Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins, but will likely mean they move their attention to acquiring Cameron Munster from the Storm.
Bennett explained that the NRL’s 17th franchise would continue to search for talent, regardless of where Ponga signs.
“I was watching the Knights game on Sunday and suddenly all the news came out about Ponga’s deal being supposedly pulled,” Bennett said to The Daily Telegraph.
“I didn’t bother ringing anyone from our place about it. If the deal had been pulled, I would have known about it because we were in contact with the Knights via our CEO Terry Reader and we heard nothing.
“Whatever went on down there was up to Newcastle. It was no concern of mine.
“We’ve had some discussions with Ponga and it was basically up to him on whether he wanted to stay at Newcastle or come to the Dolphins.
“It was a simple decision really.
“We can’t dwell on guys we may not sign. Kalyn knew how we felt, we wanted him to play for the Dolphins, so he could make his decision with no grey areas.
“What Kalyn wanted to decide was out of our control really.”
SOURCE: FOX SPORTS