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)

Knights star Kalyn Ponga says there was no malice in his shoulder charge on the Wests Tigers’ Michael Chee Kam.

Ponga was sin-binned late in Friday night’s 28-26 loss to the Tigers after his elbow made contact Chee Kam’s head in an incident that will come under scrutiny by the match review committee.

The Tigers second-rower was stretchered off the field and taken to John Hunter Hospital for precautionary head and neck tests.

But Ponga says he doesn’t have a case to answer for.

“Obviously my shoulder hit his head and that’s no good, I was very concerned for him,” Ponga told post-match.

“I was bracing for impact, it sucks it his head. I saw the way he was after it and it was pretty scary.

“I don’t think anyone would’ve deliberately gone in to hit someone in the head.

“It sucks and I hope he is OK.”

Ponga’s clean track record could work in his favour, with just a tripping charge in round eight to his name that resulted in a fine and no carry over points.

Knights coach Nathan Brown had no issues with the incident.

“Kalyn’s got to make a play, he can’t just stand there,” Brown said.

“It’s just unfortunate. I don’t think there’s a cleaner player playing the game. I don’t think he tried to make a shoulder charge. He was trying to attack the ball.”

Ponga said his absence in the final two minutes didn’t cost the Knights the game.

“I don’t feel like I let the boys down,” Ponga said.

“I got sent off with two minutes to go but to leak 28 points isn’t good enough. We put pressure on ourselves to score so it was a poor effort.

“It’s just annoying, we always say we need to have a look at ourselves and decide if we want to compete.”



  1. FFS Ponga has no case to answer for his shoulder charge.
    Regardless of what happened, accidental or deliberate, he made contact with a players head.
    To me it appears that Kam is out before he hits the ground.
    Does the NRL have any idea how to interpret their own rules.

    There are a lot of protected players and clubs out there!

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