Newcastle Knight Kalyn Ponga is likely to hold off contract talks until 2021, despite rumours over his time at Newcastle, according to NRL.com.
His father, Andre, admits that the Ponga clan are in no rush to sort out the 21-year-old’s career at this present time.
“We’ve got 2020 and 2021 – we want to wait until then,” Andre Ponga told NRL.com.
“To some people that might sound stupid, but that’s what we believe is best for him. People are saying he should take it when he can get it, but in 2021 – let’s say he goes backwards, that’s what he is worth. That’s his value then. To me, that’s the reality.”
As of November 1 next year (2020), Ponga is able to hit the open market, despite being contracted to the Knights until the end of 2021.
Talks have Ponga quickly becoming the highest-paid player in the game with suggestions that he could demand close to $1.2 million a season.
“I’m pretty sure he’s aware what our values are and money is not important to him. What happens between now and then, it might sound stupid but he is that person. He is that value,” Andre says.
“If it goes wrong, then so be it. He will be whatever value he is at the time. I know it’s not the way of thinking in the footy world, but it’s the way we think.”
Last year, Ponga triggered a representative bonus clause in his contract when he made a State of Origin debut for Queensland.
However, he is arguably on half his current value as of his contract and there’s no suggestion he’s looking to upgrade his deal.
“One thing we’ve taught him is to take responsibility for his actions,” Andre said.
“If we’ve agreed to a $1, $2, $3 deal over so many years, it’s not for us now to say he’s a $4, $5, $6 player. It’s pretty simple for us. It’s pretty simple for him. He has a contract and has to honour that.”
The 21-year-old just recently signed off on the paperwork to begin construction on his new home in Newcastle, where his family are settled and enjoying life in the Hunter.
“The girls [wife Adine and daughter Kayley] are happy, Kalyn’s happy,” Andre said.
“As long as my girls are happy and he’s happy, it’s more important than working out what he’s worth today and being that person and trying to live up to the worth in three years’ time. Your performances on the field are a reflection of your life off the field, and at the moment he’s happy. We’re happy.
“There’s no reason to change the formula. Don’t fix what’s not broken. We know the Knights want him yesterday. They want him on a long-term deal.
“But they are not pressuring us. And his manager is not wholeheartedly pressuring us because both parties are governed by the way we do things.”
It is understood that Ponga’s deal with manager Wayde Rushton expires come the end of 2020. This could be a reason as to why Ponga has delayed contract talks.