NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 24: Kalyn Ponga of the Newcastle Knights during the round 11 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Sydney Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 24, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Newcastle Knights' star fullback Kalyn Ponga and new recruit Dane Gagai have revealed the reasons why they are missing the upcoming NRL All Stars match.

Ponga was among a number of stars who opted out of the match to focus on the upcoming season following a disrupted pre-season caused by COVID.

Others included Jarome Luai, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Corey Harawira-Naera, Cody Walker and Jack Wighton.

RELATED: Full All Stars squads

It has been revealed that more than 80 per cent of players have now tested positive to the virus, which has cost plenty of teams large chunks of their pre-season.

The Knights have been one of the most heavily-impacted teams with a pre-season camp shut down and the team failing to complete training all the way up to Christmas owing to various outbreaks.

Knights general manager of football Danny Buderus told The Newcastle Herald that the decision to miss the All Stars game for Ponga was purely based around pre-season training while also highlighting concerns around injuries which limited Ponga to just 15 games in 2021.

"Like many clubs, COVID has caused significant interruption to our pre-season training program. Having missed a couple of full preseason's due to injury, Kalyn is determined to get as much pre-season training as possible," Buderus said.

"Kalyn knows what his body requires for a long season ahead and the levels required."

Gagai's decision was far more complex, yet to him, as straightforward as it gets.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 11: Dean Gagai talks with Will Chambers during a NRL Indigenous teams welcome ceremony at Yarra Park by the Scarred Tree on February 11, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Gagai has previously played three games for the Indigenous All Stars and one for the Maori All Stars, but will opt out of the match in future.

Being eligible to represent both teams, Gagai told The Newcastle Herald he would no longer represent one team over the other.

"The [All Stars] concept is great, I fully support it and love the game," Gagai told the publication.

"I have represented both teams and whilst ever they play against each other, I won't choose one over the other."

Gagai is preparing for his first season back in Newcastle colours after a move from South Sydney this off-season. The star outside back, who has played 19 games for Queensland, played 128 games for the Knights between 2012 and 2017 and has now made a total of 226 NRL appearances.