NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Kalyn Ponga of the Newcastle Knights warms up during the round four NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium on April 07, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

'Pongagate' has finally come to an end, with the Queensland Maroons fullback penning a new five-year deal with the Newcastle Knights that will keep him at the Hunter until at least the end of the 2027 season.

Ponga, who over the past few months hasn't been able to leave his house without being asked about his wine-and-dine by the Dolphins, has put the rumours of his potential move up north to bed this afternoon during a press conference where he announced his decision to re-sign.

According to News Corp, Ponga has agreed to a five-year deal worth upwards of $5 million.

This new deal will commence for the 2023 season, replacing all existing options and clauses from the current contract.

Knights brass shed a sigh of relief this afternoon as they locked up Ponga, with nib Newcastle Knights and Wests Group CEO Philip Gardner speaking on the significance of the deal for the club.

“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."

Ponga, who sat next to coach Adam O'Brien, club legend and general manager Danny Buderus, and Gardner during the press conference, expressed his excitement at the extension.

“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.”

Absent in the first three rounds, Ponga struggled to find his feet in Round 4 against the Sharks after returning from a knee complaint but has since found good form in clashes against the Sea Eagles and the Dragons.

Ponga will be out to prove the saga is behind him as he looks to right the ship of a four-game losing streak when the Knights go up against the Parramatta Eels this Sunday afternoon.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Three years at $1.1million versus five years at $1million.
    If I were the chairman of the Newcastle Recruitment and Retention committee, I would have taken the first option.

    a) If KP gets injured or goes off the boil, five years is a hell of a long drain on the salary cap. (For every DCE who is delivering at the back end of his long contract, there is a Buddy Franklin or an Andrew Fifita or an Ash Taylor or a Milf who is disappointing at the end of his contract).

    b) It gets KP’s father out of the place two years earlier !

    Hey, maybe the extra two years includes a clause getting rid of dad now. For Newcastle’s sake, one can only hope.

  2. If Newcastle don’t make the eight, don’t be surprised to see him playing for someone else next year.

    He will want to be in a competitive team, and Newcastle will want someone else who can deliver like a million dollar player, if that’s what they are going to be paying.

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