A rumour suggesting Mitchell Pearce could leave the club before the end of his current contract, and more intriguingly, before the start of the 2022 season, is continuing to linger.
The veteran former New South Wales State of Origin half is off-contract in the Hunter at the end of 2022, and there is talk he could well link up with the Canterbury Bulldogs, who are continuing to show interest.
Not only that, but there are reports suggesting the veteran wants to finish his career in Sydney, having originally moved from the Sydney Roosters to join the Knights.
The Australian's Brent Read told Triple M Radio that Ponga's performance in the line during the Knights' narrow elimination final loss to the Parramatta Eels on Sunday could only throw another layer of complexity to the Pearce contract situation.
“The interesting thing is we saw Kalyn Ponga up in the line yesterday,” Read said on Monday.
“When he got his hands on the ball he created havoc. If there is a move with Pearce over the off-season and there is a chance there could be, that could be the prelude to Kalyn Ponga moving to six on a permanent basis next year.
“I know down the track it looks like Kalyn will move to six at the Knights. I think it [Pearce’s future] is genuinely up in the air.
“If Mitch wants to stay, he’ll be there. If Mitch wants to go and find a two-year deal somewhere, he could leave. If that happens don’t be surprise if Kalyn Ponga moves to six next year.”
Ponga's contract with the Knights runs until the end of next year, however, he recently spoke about his desire to bring the Knights a premiership, and so it would appear he is more than likely to take up a player option in his favour for both 2023 and 2024 before needing to re-negotiate a contract.
The Origin star has spent much of this season out with injury, but has churned out some impressive performances in the back-end of the season.
It's unclear where Ponga's preference of playing is, however, it's thought coach Adam O'Brien wants Ponga to attempt to follow the Darren Lockyer mould in the years to come.
Jake Clifford's signing mid-season ensures that Ponga won't play in the halves until Pearce leaves the club, however, even then, Phoenix Crossland is expected to be given a new contract, and youngster Simi Sasagi is also in the Newcastle system.