Is Ponga giving Knights value for money? Heat on Griffin after Dragons’ horror run: Jimmy Brings

But the bigger question Ponga is still yet to answer is are the Knights really getting value for money out of one of the NRL’s most naturally gifted players?

When Ponga inked what was supposedly a four-year deal worth $4.4 million in July of 2020 the view was Newcastle were a club on the rise and Ponga was the untapped superstar talent to take them to the next level.

The reality is it was only a two-year deal with options in Ponga’s favour for 2023 and 2024 which is simply poor management from Newcastle CEO Phil Gardener.

Knights Bid For Milford News To NRL

Milford was cut by the Rabbitohs after he was arrested on September 20 and charged with three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of wilful damage involving a vehicle.

However Milford recently was linked to a move to the Knights in time to debut for the club next month.

Ponga opens up on ‘awesome’ relationship with Joey that could swing big contract call

Ponga must decide by Round 12 whether to trigger an option in his favour at the Knights for the 2023 season.

The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins where he could become the highest-paid player in the game earning close to $1.5 million per season.

Ponga hasn’t made a decision and told his focus for now is on honing his craft under Johns.

The NRL immortal has returned to Newcastle in a coaching capacity, 15 years after finishing his illustrious career at the club.

Experiment over as Ponga reveals Knights plans, long-term role with huge contract call looming

Ponga has been linked with a move to the halves since Mitchell Pearce’s shock defection to the Super League in November.

The Knights experimented with Ponga in the halves early in the 2019 season but he quickly switched back to fullback.

The 23-year-old confirmed to that he’ll be wearing the No. 1 jersey for Newcastle’s season opener against the Roosters on March 12.

“There’s been no real chat about that to be honest, I’ve just been focusing on being the best fullback I can be,” Ponga told

‘I want to play fullback’; Ponga’s sit down with Knights coach — Off-season Central

It has been speculated that Ponga could move into the halves to replace the outgoing Mitchell Pearce, but on his first day back to Newcastle’s pre-season training the superstar sat down with coach Adam O’Brien and informed him he wanted to stay at fullback.

A genuine attacking threat, Ponga has been touted for a move into the halves for years and with the Knights lack of spine options it seemed inevitable.

BREAKING: Mitchell Pearce released by Knights to join Catalans in France

Pearce has been strongly linked to an immediate move to French Super League club, Catalans Dragons, to finish out his professional career.

The 32-year-old formally asked for a release from the Knights last month after meeting with club powerbrokers.

Newcastle announced that Pearce had been released effective immediately, so he could take the French deal with a reported $1.8 million over three years.

“The Newcastle Knights have agreed to grant Mitchell Pearce a release to join English Super League Club, Catalans Dragons,” a club statement read.

Knights halves' steep learning curve

After a blistering opening half and commanding performance against the Raiders last start, the combination between Feeney and Brock Lamb is only three games old but was on song once more in the first 40 minutes before falling away in a show of inexperience in shutting a game down.

Costly errors in the second half undid all that was right in the contest early on for the Knights with both Lamb and Feeney guilty of coughing up the ball on two occasions apiece and lacking any control around the ruck in contrast to the opening 40 minutes.

Knights legend reacts to possible relocation

Speaking to Triple M, the Knights legend voiced his skepticism at the idea, as revealed by The Daily Telegraph, while also giving insight into how the Newcastle community would likely react.

"It won’t happen,” Johns told Triple M’s The Grill Team.

“Knowing the community up there. They’d set NRL headquarters on fire first.”

The NRL currently hold ownership over the Newcastle club and are desperate to sell them to private owners after back-to-back wooden spoons.


Broncos finish fast to down Knights

A low-scoring first half saw both sides get over for an unconverted try, with Danny Levi darting through from dummy-half for Newcastle before a Darius Boyd cut-out pass gifted Jordan Kahu an easy one in the corner. 

Bennett hunting Sims and James to bolster pack

Sims is unsettled at Newcastle and is keen to settle at a more established and successful club, meaning there is high possibility of him walking out on the final year of his $400,000 a year contract.

Meanwhile James has reportedly been offered a big money contract by the inter-state rivals, although he is set to reject the deal and finalise a new three-year commitment to the Titans.

Bennett is desperate for a forward leader and might have to settle for only Sims, with James likely to stay put at the Gold Coast.