Ponga set to sign mega deal to stay at Knights

first_imgRugby League Kalyn Ponga looks set to remain at Newcastle for another five years with a massive contract extension. The Knights are finalising the length of the extension, which could be for as long as five years to keep him at the club until 2025. An announcement on the deal, which will make Ponga one of the top five highest-paid players in the NRL, is expected as early as the end of this week. The signing is a major boost for the Knights, who will now build the club’s future around the Queensland State of Origin No.1. Ponga was originally contracted until 2021, with an option in his favour for 2022. He has now triggered that option and has upgraded and extended his deal. Ponga’s father Andre has been negotiating with the Knights for the past couple of months since the split with former agent Wayde Rushton, who also lost Latrell Mitchell as a client at around the same time. Ponga was giving strong consideration to walking out on rugby league to pursue a potential spot with the New Zealand All Blacks in time for the 2023 World Cup in France, however the 22-year-old’s desire to win a premiership with the Knights outweighed his rugby union ambition. All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan told the Herald in February that Ponga faced an uphill battle trying to crack it into an already established New Zealand team with just one season under his belt before the 2023 World Cup. However, a five-year extension will see Ponga through until he is 27 and in the peak period of his career, leaving the door ajar for a code switch. That would give him two full seasons in rugby union if he still held a desire to take up the 15-man sport ahead of the 2027 World Cup, which could be played in Australia. Ponga, who will miss this Sunday’s clash with Penrith through suspension, is settled in Newcastle with his parents and sister. The family also just built a house in the region and have no intention of leaving the Hunter. Newcastle chief executive Phil Gardner told the Herald in February about the club’s plans to keep Ponga at the club long term. “We’ve told the Ponga family we’d like KP to extend his time with us,” Gardner told the Herald in February. “We’ve offered him an upgraded contract for 2020-21 on the basis of an extension. The family know how much we want to keep him at Newcastle and they will come back to us with their view.”last_img