It’s official! North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green has confirmed that talented teenager Kalyn Ponga has signed with the Newcastle Knights.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Green conceded the club were “disappointed to lose him”.

“Look, it’s early days, so there’s a cooling off period, but we expect Kalyn to go there (to the Knights),” Green said.

Ponga will join the Knights in 2018 on a five-year $3 million deal.

When asked if Ponga had requested an early release, Green said he wasn’t sure but made it clear that a release would not be granted either way.

“Kalyn’s contracted to us for next year, he’s part of our plans for next year and as such he’s expected to play for us,” Green said.

SEE ALSO:  Referees threaten to boycott opening round of 2019 season

“This is the competitive nature of the industry that we’re part of, so I’m going to pick the best team possible and if Kalyn’s part of that then he’ll be in the team, simple as that.”

70 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, big play from the Knights given how young and untried he is. Tbh I think this won’t work out for the Knights, they have plenty of young guns in their side, they needed to sign a couple more older heads in the team and create a strong spine.

  2. It says a lot that the coach is saying he has signed. Tells me the coach is a bit salty. But $3 million is a lot of money. And I can say that the knights fullbacks including Mata’utia, Ross and Mamo and maybe Sio, are on high alert.

      • That’s good. I don’t like Mamo. Looks like he thinks he’s better than he is. It was fun watching him go off his head in the NSW cup GF in 2015 though.

  3. This kid reminds me of Stephen Larkham. Just has heaps of time and can put on the jets when he needs to. Will be one of the best imo. Not a Knights fan but glad to see that teams out there can still secure prodigious talent even if they have to throw money at them. They will build around him until the Broncos or Rooster convince him to break his contract.

  4. big gamble imo . but in saying that he could be the start of a bright future for the knights i hope so . as a parra fan its good for the game if the knights and dragons are strong imo they represent the real blue collar clubs with the there history of steel workers and wharfeies , not so much now but it still runs deep .you can include the cowboys in that with fans travelling 1000s of klms to see a game . its built into there culture to be passionate about there clubs and would love for the knights to come good . at least there trying to rebuild and looking toward the future . good luck to them and hope all you knight fans are exited as you should be .

    • Hey thepiston, where have you been champ? I hope you still include the Rabbitohs in your list of the real blue collar clubs?

      Souths may be run by a bunch of fancy pants millionaire/billionaire playboys but the grass roots supporters are still representative of the blue collar working class. Admittedly I’m a white collar worker but I’m blue collar in my heart. 😉

      I grew up in housing commission flats in Redfern, the 3 flats you could see behind the old scoreboard at Redfern oval.

      Buddy don’t throw me in with the latte sipping, Chardonnay swilling elitists, PLEASE! 😉

      Agreed though, Newcastle ARE hard core blue collar supporters who stood by their team this year and still packed out home games even though they were coming last. Reminds me of the good old/bad old says when Souths were playing at Redfern oval.

      • SSTID_1970 sorry mate souths are the most iconic club in the NRL . Im glad there back were they belong and mate no one cheered harder than me when souths won in 2014 . and i agree your grass root support never wavers , never has never will .. i enjoy reading your comments . always insightful cheers

    • I’m a white collar but nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than when blue collar clubs like Newie do well.

      • +1
        Very happy that the Knights faithful are rewarded for all their loyal support. I just feel this could have developed a bit more at the Cowboys under JT’s guidance, been a better footballer for it and THEN gone to the Knights as a real gun player! I just hope this doesn’t effect his development. A lot of pressure on him to perform without many X-factor players to take on the pressure. Good luck though Knights, all that talk about last place and a ball hasn’t even been kicked in 2017. A lot can happen. Keep the faith!

    • Agree Bob , and he’s chosen a weak club , weak on the field and weak off the field , again money wins ,,, just look at DCE ,,, “but he needs a partner in the halves ” BS I say if your on that kind of coin you can do it on your talent ,,,,

    • A little harshly put but right again Bob. Good job Bob! He won’t get to hobnob now Bob! No star players to rub shoulders with, no seaside mansions. No fancy airs, prancing with premiers.

      He’ll do it tough in my opinion but he HAS got talent. Good luck Knights. I just hope it’s money well spent. IMO you are paying him what he should have been worth in my 3 years time. If that’s what it takes to beat the TPA sinkhole good luck to you.

  5. As a knights fan at first i thought the money was too big but im stoked the kids got a bright future just happy we finally brought in someone we can build around and not just a 30 something looking to extend his career

    • adzy44, truth is I wish he was playing for Souths but NOT for even half that. I think you have a very exciting prospect on your hands and good luck to you.

      Now he HAS signed just enjoy it and don’t worry, it will turn out well I’m sure. Too late to second guess in any case. I just think his development would have been accelerated elsewhere.

      With the obvious talent he possesses I am sure he will give you plenty to cheer about on years to come.

  6. There is a big difference between being a star in NYC a (a glorified school boy competition) and playing first grade. I can’t believe people are talking about building a club around him. On what, a school boy highlight reel.

    • I actually watched him play in the GPS comp here in Brisbane. He definitely stood out but not as much as he is being talked up now. The hype is definitely over the top.

  7. Off the topic I know but get ready for some more bad news out Parramatta way. Regarding 1 C. Norman & friends.

  8. Let’s just say he really should delete stuff of his phone, once a party animal….always a party animal! All depends if it gets released or not!

    • Westthewarrier that statement sums up nearly 80% of NRL players ,,, as for Ponga ,he maybe able to rip it up in junior leagues ,where kids play ,lets see him play 26 weeks in a real comp , anyone singing praises of NYC has to much time on there hands , sure it’s ok to watch ,but so it OZ Tag ,and touch footy

  9. I don’t know what to say tbh. Ponga is talented as hell but all this money for an 18 year old kid who has only played 2 games of FG? He should stay at the Cowboys long term so he can learn off JT and I don’t think he will be as effective as he will with the Knights because their side obviously isn’t as good as the Cows and they will probably rely on him to do everything but who knows?

    • A bit pot calling the kettle black doggies fan you did the same with klemmer throwimg big bucks and he is nowhere near as talented as this kid i dont agree with the money either but he will be good amd could be an all time great

      • Klemmer is only on $330k lol. How do you even compare talents between a forward and a fullback? Klemmer was one of the most dominant forwards, if not the most dominant when he was in the under 20s and he is still a top forward now. A pretty silly comment by you mate, but who knows if Ponga can step up in first grade consistently and stay as good as he did in under 20s? That’s one of the big reasons why everybody is questioning the money.

        • bluecastle? What ? I’m with canterburybankstownbulldog4ver (The bloke with the longest username in history) on this one. That comparison is not a good one mate.

          Ponga is putting a tonne of pressure on himself. On that amount of cash people will be expecting big things very soon. I hope he goes well though.

        • “The bloke with the longest username in history”

          Hahahahaha. It’s OK CBB4ver I’m the one with the longest posts on ZT history! Beat you to it greggo. 😉

        • …on ZT history?

          IN ZT history!! “i” and “o” are too close together!! I need a thumb transplant! Or perhaps a bigger phone? 😉

        • Silly comment? Klemmer got the contract before his debut and he is hardly one of the top forwards built like tarzan plays like jane half the time almost every team has at least 1 better forward
          Broncos have mcguire blair thaiday gillett (parker)
          Bulldogs have graham jackson
          Raiders have boyd papalii
          Sharks have fifita gallen (lewis is probably around the same but 2-3 years ago would be easily better
          Titans have proctor james
          Storm have bromwich harris
          Cowboys have scott taumalolo tamou
          Eels have beau scott who is around the same now hes getting old
          Panthers have merrin cartwright
          Dragons have frizzell and honestly de belin would be close
          Rabbitohs have the 3 burgess boys
          Roosters have cordner
          Warriors have mannering
          Tigers have woods and he isnt picking those numbers its a bidding war that his manager took advantage of i dont agree with the big dollars either oh and the dogs also did it with lichaa and im not comparing talents really all im saying is dogs offered klemmer before he played first grade and ponga could easily demand over 1 mil per season after this contract he has the potential to be the best player in the world one day something klemmer or lichaa never had

        • Mate you said that Ponga has more talent that what Klemmer will ever have. That’s pretty much comparing them haha. Klemmer is only 22 years old and he’s been playing very well. Wait until he is more mature when he’s older. Look at the way he’s been performing for the Kangaroos recently. His impact and running have been awesome. Saying that Ponga will be the best player in the world is a little too far. You never know if he will fire or not and actually get 1mil per season should he actually earn it. Well no sh*t Klemmer and Lichaa haven’t been called best in the world. They’re hardly 23 years old and since when do players in their positions get called best in the world? I honestly hope Ponga fires for you guys but he’s being paid way too much and the risk is he might get too comfortable with that money and not perform knowing he is still getting that cash. High risk, but not guaranteed high reward.

        • Sure Klemmer was being paid $330k from 2013 when he made his debut but he has actually lived up to his expectation and continues to get better.

        • Hey mwse4l, bluecastle2204 lifted your line!

          bluecastle2204 November 17, 2016 at 6:50 pm

          “built like tarzan plays like jane”

          mwse4l November 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm

          “looked like tarzan played like jane”

          http://www.zerotackle.com/manly-attempt-to-prise-curtis-sironen-from-wests-tigers-24347/

          One other thing both you guys have in common… you are both WRONG! Although Klemmer is not Paul Sironen they BOTH played for Australia and NSW SOO (which makes them tough in anyone’s book) but especially because they both ARE tough! Neither player ever “played like Jane” and with the exception of st47 re Paul Sironen, you won’t find anyone here (outside of the 3 of you) to agree with you about either I bet.

          Btw, bluecastle2204 I understand this comment is born out of frustration and pride for your team in defending the Knights new signing but as for CBB4ver initial comment:

          canterburybankstownbulldog4ver November 17, 2016 at 2:08 pm

          I agree with every word (and I will bet deep down so do you). At the end of the day he IS playing for the Knights in 2018 NOT the Bulldogs or the Rabbitohs so just sit back and grin. Or in the words of Skipper (Madagascar); “Smile and wave boys! Smile and wave.” 😉

        • +1 SSTID_1970. Good ol Skipper haha. I’m dying for 2017 to start. We have the first Friday night game at 6pm against the Storm at Belmore Sports Ground. I am definitely attending that game, hoping to see us notch our 7th straight win over them and to see a Belmore win and hopefully a good win too. Hoping ol Des makes the correct changes we need to be a true force again.

        • canterburybankstownbulldog4ver

          “Hoping ol Des makes the correct changes we need to be a true force again”

          You guys have great forwards and very handy backs but the spine is the key. Get the right people in the right positions, develop combinations and consistency and build from there. Garvey over Lichaa for sure, Hoppa to the centres (where missing Sunday games will have less impact then if he is at FB), perhaps Mbye to FB (his natural postion) and get your young half (forget his name in their to have a crack with Reynolds but somewhere down the track Reynolds should be your hooker. Just my opinion but if nothing changes, nothing changes… 😉

        • I dont agree with him klemmer is over rated he constantly gets made into a bitch amd thats stupid saying no one gets called the vest player in the world what about jt? He is the best player in the world oh and playing for australia or soo doesn’t make you tough at all tamou has done both and he is soft uate is a sook and klemmer is soft honestly don’t know how he keeps playing rep australia would of been best off going with fifita or ryan james they were much better all year klemmer can play really well once a month and he has only really had one great origin game and again i dont agree with the money yet but we needed something and this could help us land a heap more players hopefully hokko comes out far better this year then the idea of playing with origin hero hodkinson gun back gagai and the next big thing ponga will entice some quality forwards and besides the dogs are just scum anyway they prove it time and time again especially with the whole parker incident

        • Klemmer is one of the best forwards in the comp and still very young. He’s probably been the best forward for Australia so far this tournament, which basically says it all.
          Good luck not getting the wooden spoon again anyway.

        • Also Klemmer signed with the Dogs when he was 15, and by the time he was on the 330k he’s now he’d already played a lot of first grade, so I dont know what you’re on about.

        • He didn’t actually play first grade before he signed and he had a good game against england big deal so everyone goes off one game it seems he has had 1 good origin and people think he is great he would probably be around 19th or 20th for best forwards no way would he crack the top 10 he isn’t even the doggies best and the broncos have 4 better forwards tbh he would probably only be the best forward at the knights and maybe eels and manly and warriors i really hate doggies fans tbh they’re 99% morons they all say josh jackson should play for australia he would struggle to make the top 10 back rowers everyone just goes off one game these days people saying boyd shouldnt be there as well yeah ok drop boyd if you have absolutely no knowledge about nrl and if you want australia ti lose

        • bluecastle2204, you are entitled to your opinion of course but photo evidence doesn’t lie. Check out the photo of Klemmer using Proctor as a “speed hump” (from the “Four Nations Final Team Lists” story) and Proctor is not normally a “push over”

        • Jacko got the Brad Fittler medal this season which is best player for NSW so I guess it’s not just Dogs fans that are morons in your opinion.

        • Yeah klemmer can run kver people but doesnt do it enough and so what if he got nsw best player did cordner play all 3 origins? Did merrin? Also gillett thaiday and papalii are qlders

  10. 5 years seems pretty crazy but I suppose he is only 18 now and 19 next season at cowboys (turning 20 in the 1st year of the contract with the knights) so that would make him 25ish when he gets off contract. Which if he succeeds could be worth a hell of a lot more or worth alot less than 600k a year, who knows? If they cant get him for 2017 the next season in qld cup/under 20s/1st grade at the cowboys will give everyone a better indication.

    Worth the gamble? I suppose the knights thought so.

  11. High risk high reward knights, i think he’ll be one of the best in this generation and could deliver the knights some good fortune. wouldnt mind seeing them sign mic gordon for a year to wein him in as a fullback in the top grade. much like mini/rts, gordon/french etc.

    • cultoftahu

      “Smart move by the Knights”

      Certainly, IF he comes good, perhaps their only way to break into the recruiting market.

      “smart move by Ponga to accept”

      Financially, yes. Developmentally? The jury’s still out on that one. IMO he would have progressed faster and been a better player with more opportunity in a better, settled, well coached side. With JT he had the perfect mentor! Well Ponga better be a quick study because he just has access to JT for one more year. Again, good luck Knights and Ponga.

      Btw, does this mean technically I’ve joined a “cult”?

  12. certain media outlets are reporting it’s $3.6mil…crazy Newcastle.

    Well done Ponga, you have now set yourself up for life no matter what you do on the field

  13. If you look at the best halves in the world, they all have or had a forward pack that creates space for their backs. Now you can have the best halves, fullback or wingers in the world but if your forwards are not mobile, aggressive and dominate, your backs will have no space or field position to work with. Newcastle……. Here’s some advice…….get yourselves some game tested and respected forwards that other players want to play with instead of throwing a hail merry and believing “this” is the player the club has been waiting for. No disrespect to your current forwards……but if they continue to provide the same go forward and defensive efforts, Ponga is in for some very hard years.

    • Rabbits? Don’t start me Rabbits! Don’t start me!

      “Tarzan played like Jane looked.”

      No that misses the point entirely! The emphasis is NOT on Jane’s looks but rather her lack of athletic ability or physical prowess, hence:

      “looked like tarzan played like jane”

      This is an old and accepted sporting simile, a player who “looks like Tarzan but plays like Jane” is someone who is great physically, but who can’t play the game. It is a famous one-liner used to describe a player that appears physically imposing, but plays at a level not consistent with their apparent physical gifts.” (i.e they are a pussy!)

      A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things that are alike in some way.

      The “look” or “build” of a player is compared to being similar to that of Tarzan.
      The manner in which the player played was similar to how a “girl” (Jane) would play the game (i.e. less physical, weak). Both are valid, though inaccurate, for the simile to carry the argument IMO.

  14. Point no1: this is just the start of the new nrl era of playing contracts where players are paid overs on potential because there is room in teams cap to take a risk.
    Point2: the Knights had to offer a contract that was too good to refuse to get him there
    Point3: no forward pack, no room for ponga to shine. Manly couldn’t do it with names like Stewart,Lyon,matai,DCE,Foran in there backline in 2015. So how is one kid going to make a difference
    Point4: the Knights have 12 months to sign some quality forwards

    • +1. There is no ” I ” in “team”. Ponga will make no difference unless he has the support which he will require.

    • I love the optimism but can’t see that happening I’m sorry to say. Panthers vs Warriors or Broncos vs Raiders Grand Final.

      • Souths had The Storm beat, and flogged The Sharks leading into the semi finals…if they stay healthy and focused they will be there about…looking forward to 2017.

        • We finally agree on something! Rabbits?

          “Souths had The Storm beat”

          As I have argued here before, watch the reply of Smith’s winning field goal and you will see that the reason he had time and space to kick the field goal was because Kenny Bromwich in playing the ball clearly held Kyle Turner at marker. Bromwich moved forward after playing the ball (something he is not allowed to do in any case) and held the marker in an NFL style block. It was clearly a rehearsed move and the referees did nothing. I call the move “the bulldozer!”

          At the end of the day Souths left their run too late and paid the price for 8 straight losses just prior to this run (and bolstered by 2 byes in between). Simply not good enough at ANY time of the year, but especially in the run to the finals.

          They will be a better team next year and I only hope other teams take them lightly. If they do watch out!

      • +1

        @titans2012: Just like picking next years Melbourne Cup winner 12 months out! Foolish to the extreme, but symptomatic of RL fans starved for action! It’s going to be a LONG off season (and the Aussies are getting SMASHED in the cricket so I can’t even pretend to be interested). 🙁

  15. I think its great for the knights, im also very happy for him to stay at the cows for 2017 to get another yr around Coote, JT and Morgan and be another yr older and wiser.

    By 2018 i think the Saifiti twins will be monsters and provide plenty of meters.

    Korbin will be in for a big yr in 2017 and hopefully kicks on after that.. at 24yrs old and just having his first baby i think the man in him will come out.

    I wasnt to keen on Barnett coming back to the club but he was outstanding once he arrived and will only get better.

    Sione id rather in the backline but if he stays in the backrow he could be a great edge runner.

    Buhrer is a very solid allrounder that is very crisp in attack and Defense.

    Mataora and Starling are same same to me… bench/back up props.

    If Pauli drops 8-10kg and gets some aggression in him he again could be a monster to handle.

    Stockwell fit could be a solid player but was very soft in 2016 due to injury.

    Add 1-2 other props and the 2018 knights could be a handful… id have tried to grab Musgrove as he’s a beast and still young.

    Fullback is a position the knights need filled and Ponga should be good for the gig in another 12mths

    • Uaholeknights, good points. My immediate thoughts were staying at the Cowboys for a year when they know he has left would be very negative, given they don’t have any incentive to invest in him, but you may well be right. Give him an extra year to develop.

      I don’t know much about the Knights, but I know Pauli, as a player. I few years ago, when he first came through with us, I remember thinking (he wasn’t as big then), with his speed he could focus on fitness (not bulk up) and play anywhere in the backs, or bulk up and remain a forward.

      He’s got talent, and Parra couldn’t get him focused, and sadly, at least so far, nor have the Knights. He’s obviously chosen to be a prop, and if he gets his attitude right, he’d make a great Lock (a potential Taumalolo), but I’m losing faith.

      • Imo a team like the cowboys with a absolute truckload of tallent isnt one that needs much coaching to learn!

        Ponga has done all the learning in juniors… its the step up and fine tuning him as a player he needs now… JT Morgan and 100% Coote will do that with all with out Green and co chiming in on the case.
        Footy players show the way to the young no matter what.

  16. Who can blame Pongia for signing with the Knights for that money, he has to take it regardless, all you peoples opinion would be different if that was your 18 year old son, anyway, Newcastle had to do something, when you are at the bottom of the table a great signing is imperative, look at how Souths did it, they signed Asotasi to big money to stimulate other signings and now look at them, sure he is untried and not a forward but that does not matter, they need to get things going and good luck to them.

    Rabbitwithdudzon i said Souths would make the GF ages ago in 2017 and would play maybe Canberra or Penrith.

    • It’s potentially a better side than the 2014 side. Also looking forward to the 2019-20 side if those young fellows we signed step up.

  17. Oh please use your head people of course this was what he was gonna do
    The moment the Knights stepped up I knew he was gonna sign with them
    Sign with the Broncos or the Resign with Cowboys for a smaller payday
    And battle your way into the team
    Or sign with the Knights for a huge amount and get a guaranteed starting spot

Comments are closed.