Newcastle Knights captain and Queensland Maroons State of Origin fullback Kalyn Ponga has made himself unavailable for selection in Mal Meninga's Australian Kangaroos 2022 Rugby League World Cup squad.
Ponga has struggled throughout the season with a number of concussions, and added to that the Knights' form woes, has decided to focus on pre-season training instead of a potential spot in the World Cup squad, which will be named by Meninga in the coming weeks.
Ponga missed the final games of the season, and it was thought he would have to be fit in time for the Prime Minister's XIII game, to be held in Brisbane on preliminary final weekend, to be considered for the squad.
Ponga said that he understood the opportunities he may be giving up in a club statement.
“I understand the potential opportunities that may be missed by this decision, however due to the year we have endured, I really want to commit on the upcoming preseason,” Ponga said.
“My focus will sit firmly with nailing preseason from the start, and I believe this decision is in the best interest for myself and the Knights.”
While the Knights' fullback suggested recently that he could have played in the final round of the season, it was decided to keep him on ice.
Mal Meninga confirmed recently that Ponga would be under consideration for the squad, although James Tedesco is likely to be Australia's first choice fullback for the tournament, to be held in England.
The squad is set to be named in the week leading up to the grand final, with Australia due to fly out shortly after the completion of the season.