NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: Kalyn Ponga of the Newcastle Knights in the warm up during round one NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 15, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga has reopened the conversation for having player names to be printed on the back of NRL jerseys.

A photo of NBA players Lamelo Ball and Carmelo Anthony trading basketball jerseys prompted Ponga to go and state the case on social media.

“NRL put names on the back of our jerseys,” Ponga wrote on his Instagram story on Tuesday evening, further adding he wanted Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s jersey before his retirement.


NRL reporter Katie Brown said on SEN 1170 Mornings that she could see the league using this as a merchandising tool for the superstars of the NRL.

“Even if it is a merchandising gimmick, it’s making money,” she said.

“I’m sure there would be so many people wanting a Kalyn Ponga jersey with his name on the back.”

Andrew Voss agreed with Brown’s take, also believing that there is a lot more upside about the idea of putting player names on the back of NRL jerseys.

“We have it in Origin, they put the names on the jersey,” he said.

“It would be expensive in the NRL, that jersey would be exclusive to the player, but we’re a professional sport, I think we can cover it.”

In many sports, it’s pretty common for players to swap jerseys post-game, with the NBA and other North American organisations doing so quite frequently.

It has also been frequent in many soccer leagues around the globe and the rare occasion, it has happened in the AFL.

However, the biggest issue the NRL faces at the moment is the amount of changes in NRL teams each week because of injuries and other issues, with player numbers representing their position rather than their name.


  1. Are you implying the NRL pays for Jerseys? Surely they are sponsored they have their names (trade marks) on display. The jersey companies can make the cash back via increased supporter sales anyway. YES, it is a no brainer they should have their names on the jersey. NRL players shouldn’t be sharing any clothing in 2021.

  2. I see some have taken the support to now include players picking their own numbers! I DO NOT support this at all. The players name is one thing but traditional 1 through 13 player position numbers should remain. It’s hard enough explaining who’s who and their positions to newbies, wives and friends. In my “world” all replacements would wear the jersey position number they replace – only with the colour of the number reversed or outlined (black to white etc). This way you know what position they have taken the field to play and you instantly know it is a replacement. If I see some knob wanting to run out in number 23 because he a fan of some yank playing dribble ball I’ll vomit! It’s got the Super League rubbish feel about it – yet again.

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