Knights pull Ponga offer as door opens for Dolphins in stunning twist

The Knights have reportedly pulled their extension offer for Kalyn Ponga in a stunning twist to the superstar fullback’s future.

It now opens the door for Ponga to link up with the Dolphins after being sprung meeting with coach Wayne Bennett earlier this month.

News Corp reports Ponga and the Knights had agreed to a five-year deal, however it was pulled by the club on Friday.

Ponga is signed with the Knights until the end of 2024 — however he has an option in his favour for the final two seasons which he has to make a call on by Round 10.

The Dolphins have been circling Ponga as their potential marquee signing and now it looks likely that the 24-year-old will end up in Redcliffe.

It opens the door now for the Knights to chase Storm superstar Cameron Munster — who has also been in talks with the Dolphins — with a long-term deal.

According to News Corp, Ponga’s father Andre, who is also his manager, wanted authority over when the deal was announced — not the Knights — and that has created some unsettlement at the club.

The Knights wanted to unveil the new deal last week, but Andre was not on board.

The extension was understood to be between $1.1 million to $1.2 million for another three years, which would have kept Ponga in the Hunter until the end of 2027.

News Corp reports senior Knights management have become fed-up with Andre delaying the announcement, as well as the money being paid for Ponga, who is yet to hit his best form this season.

“It’s massive news coming out of Newcastle,” Fox League analyst Corey Parker said.

“We’ve been following this story for a number of weeks and it looked like it was agreed on with Kalyn Ponga and his management were going to proceed for a long period of time at the Knights.

“Now that’s been sensationally pulled from Kalyn Ponga. There seems to be some communication breakdown between Andre, who is Kalyn’s dad and the senior management at the Knights.

“It’s a huge story because there’s a flow-on effect off the back of that with the Dolphins coming into the competition next year. They need a marquee signing, they’ve made it very clear that Kalyn Ponga is going to be that man.

“Kalyn still has two years to activate on his contract but that looks highly unlikely going forward, which then opens a number of doors for a number of clubs because Cam Munster is also in that same conversation with the Dolphins.

“But if Kalyn Ponga goes there first you wouldn’t imagine they can afford both of them.”

“It’s disruptive for the Knights,” Shane Flanagan added.

“I’m sure the team today wouldn’t have an understanding of what was going on behind the scenes and without knowing the details it is a tricky one with the two-year option in his favour and the extension.

“For Newcastle I hope he stays but it does sound (like) it’s dragging on and on. We thought last week there would be an announcement and then all of a sudden there’s a backflip there.

“From a club’s point of view they can go back there and they may have put a deadline on it and they wanted to get it resolved but not good for the club or the player.”


Ponga now has six weeks left before he must activate or knock back his option for 2023 and 2024.

But after this revelation it seems unlikely that he will choose to stay beyond this season.

The Dolphins have shown interest in Munster, while the Storm are hopeful of retaining the Queensland Origin No.6.

The Storm have tabled an offer at $750,000 per season, but the Dolphins have indicated they are willing to pay him $1 million per season.

If the Dolphins now land Ponga, the path will be cleared for the Knights to begin a shock chase for Munster.


Story first published on Fox Sports Australia

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