NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: 7 Mitchell Pearce of the Knights during the round five NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Newcastle Knights are formulating a plan to secure the talents of superstar Kalyn Ponga and club captain Mitchell Pearce.

The Knights signed Ponga to a four-year deal this time last year but want to ensure the 20-year-old remains a key cog as they rise up the NRL ladder.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the Knights are planning to throw $7 million at the halves pair.

The deal will keep Ponga at Newcastle until 2026, potentially making him the highest paid player in club history.

Pearce could be offered a two-year extension on top of his current contract, which comes to an end following the 2021 season.

Newcastle are in the process of forming a squad strong enough to return to the finals for the first time since 2013.

Securing Ponga will cancel out any chance of the youngster switching to rugby union, after he previously spoke about his desire to play for the All Blacks.

The Knights see Ponga as the next star of the league and pairing him alongside Pearce will help convince fans they are on track to challenge for a premiership in the near future.

“We see Kalyn being the future face of not only the Knights, but the game,” Newcastle chief executive Phil Gardner told The Daily Telegraph.

“Not only is Kalyn an outstanding player he is also an outstanding young person. We would obviously like to have Kalyn with us as long as possible.”

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Gardner believes their current captain has a lot more to offer and despite an injury-ridden 2018 campaign, they see Pearce as a potential 400-game player and want to reward him for his efforts.

“He is a good person, and to his credit, he is stepping up. Mitchell is a great player for us. He is showing all the hallmarks of leadership.”

Giving Pearce a million dollars a year deal will keep the faith in Newcastle’s long-term plan and help them remain a legitimate threat in years to come.

“For the first time in the history of this club, we are currently working on our roster for 2021,” Gardner said.

“This club has worked on the roster the year they are in effectively for the last 10 years.

“It’s a great position for the club to be in. We know where we’re going.”


  1. Ponga won’t commit himself till 2026 that’s far to long. He said he would like to play for the all blacks. Can’t see him signing that deal. Mitchell Pearce tho, if they want to throw him money he will sign. He’s getting older and has already had a couple big injuries. If Pearce can secure himself big $$ till 2023 then that’s great for him

    • Show us where he said he would like to play for the All Blacks? If you are referring to the article/interview of him in NZ, you would do well to take another look at the full interview to see that his comments were taken out of context.
      He was asked if he was playing Rugby, would he want to play for the All Blacks, to which he responded yes, playing for the All Blacks would be the pinnicale of his career, given the hypothetical scenario of him playing Rugby.
      He has come out a couple of times now to say that he was taken out of context.

  2. That’s a big call. One is an ageing player with an increasing injury record and the other one is still to pass the potential stage. But we’re talking about the Knights here so it doesn’t surprise me.
    Still, I’d have thought Gardner a little more astute – sounds more like something Brown would dribble out.

  3. Newcastle have some more talented young halves coming through the grades. Signing Pearce especially for longer means they can say goodbye to a couple of them.

  4. 1. Watson
    2. Lee
    3. Ramien
    4. Moga
    5. SKD
    6. Ponga
    7. Pearce
    8. Ese’ese
    9. Levi
    10. Glasby
    11. L. Fitzgibbon
    12. S Matautia
    13. Klemmer

    14. Mann
    15. D Saifiti
    16. Guerra
    17. Gavet

    B: Hunt Ross
    H/U: Lino Griffin Woolford
    F: Barnett J Saifiti Burher Stone King

    Actually looking like a good team on paper. They have a game changing exciting half in Ponga and a really good NRL level controlling halve who is also a good leader. Lots of young backs with potential. A bigger forward back led by Klemmer and supported by a couple others. The bench has experience, versatility, and impact. There is some depth but not a hell of a lot of proven depth. Hooker is the 1 weak area with a few people able to play that role but none really standing out. If they have the coin (which they do), they should spend it here. Ie: Manase Fainu, Mitch Rein or Reece Robson

  5. I think it would be “un-Newcastle” to put so much money into outside talent. I have always seen Newcastle as being a real local talent type of club. Dunno- maybe things have changed.

    • Surely you jest? Have you not noticed a whole first grade team plus that Newcastle has purchased over the last couple of years?

      • They kind of had to though, certain clubs from Sydney swoop in and buy up all the talented players in Newcastle as 15-16 year olds’ and discard the ones they don’t need once they have matured.
        If you don’t know which teams are doing it, talk to your captain, he’ll let you know.

        • Do you mean the Roosters captain?
          I don’t support the Roosters in any way , shape or form.
          Newcastle has been losing more good young players , since they started the buy a team regardless theory.
          If Pearce is there until 2026, wI’ll be about 25 by then. He won’t stay that long waiting for a first grade position .
          That was my original point. Don’t keep Pearce that long.

  6. After Pearce ousts Cleary for this years Origin series. He will be able to write his own price increase for long as he wants. However I have heard a loud rumor circulating around Roosterville that Pearce is being chased by the Roosters to come home after Cronk retires. Newcastle are concerned and are now about to throw a massive offer his way to stay on longer.💪🐔👍🎱

  7. I can’t see Pearce returning to the Roosters after Cronk retires. They have Luke Keary & Brock Lamb in their squad and knowing how they like to have the best in all positions (without going over the salary cap!), they will go after whoever is the best available. Mitchell Pearce has been a good player throughout his career, but he’s no Cooper Cronk.

    • That’s what I heard down at the soffves Sydney Leagues club, Oh wait a minute. They don’t have a Leagues club😩🤣😆😂😁🤣 Must of heard it getting around at the EASTS Leagues club. 💪🐔👍

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