NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 10: Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown during a Newcastle Knights NRL pre-season training session at Hunter Stadium on February 10, 2016 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

The Knights’ prospects of signing Kalyn Ponga have firmed after feting the teenage sensation and his family with red-carpet treatment over the weekend.

Ponga, the 18-year-old dynamo who has played in two NRL games for North Queensland, is being chased by a host of NRL clubs, including Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Parramatta, and has also attracted interest from rugby union and AFL franchises.

Regarded as one of the hottest talents to emerge from the National Youth Competition, after scoring 20 tries in 29 games over the past two seasons, Ponga is contracted to the Cowboys for 2017.

Knights officials hope to secure him for 2018 – if not earlier – and pulled out all stops at the weekend, providing a guided tour of the club’s facilities, the city’s beaches and introducing him to club legends such as Danny Buderus.

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