Kalyn Ponga, born 30th of March 1998, is just 18 years old, but is bound to sign a three million dollars’ worth of contract in a five-year deal with Newcastle Knights. This is a record high and the richest deal in NRL history for a teenager.
Ponga is currently playing with North Queensland and the contract is set to take effect in 2018. North Queensland is open for talks and negotiation with Pongas move to join the struggling team. Six other clubs is believed to also have tried to sign the young gun, which are Storm, Dragons, Bulldogs, Broncos, Titans and Parramatta. Ponga have played in his preferred positions, five-eight and fullback, in only two NRL games so far for the Cowboys in the finals series in 2016. Cowboys coach spoke in a press conference on Thursday saying he was disappointed to lose the 18-year old fullback. The coach said he is uncertain if Ponga asked for an immediate release but said that they refused to release him from his deal this 2017 and that he is a key component for their gameplan next season. He added that the Cowboys made an effort to keep him, but they could not win over Newcastle’s hefty offer. The coach is philosophical about their loss but then added to potentially block Kalyn’s pathway by re-signing Lachlan Coote, after all, the kid Ponga has only played two games. The young prodigy also lured a big fandom with his promising performance, raising demand for Ponga NRL merchandise online.
With Ponga’s 2017 contract still in place, this means Ponga will still fight alongside North Queensland and not yet be able to wear No. 1 Jersey for the Knights next season. Too bad there wouldn’t be Ponga Knights NRL merchandise online yet till then.
Other notable talents who were Ponga’s contemporaries were also lured away from their home clubs despite protests from fans. Johnathan Thurston left Bulldogs in 2004 and joined the Cowboys, as his path for the regulars was clouded when Brent Sherwin and Braith Anasta was signed. Josh Mansour played for Rabbitohs on the under 20s side before moving to Penrith in 2011. Anthony Milford, one of the most promising talents and with which the Raiders invested so many resources to, moved to the Broncos to be closer to his home.