After flirting with a code switch to rugby union, Kalyn Ponga is reportedly on the verge of signing a long-term deal which will see him remain at the Newcastle Knights.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ponga will sign a deal which will net him $1.1 million per season.
The Knights are yet to finalise the length of the contract, which could be a five-year deal that would see Ponga remain in Newcastle through 2025.
While it is understood that Ponga gave “strong consideration” to the prospect of joining the All Blacks in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, his desire to win an NRL premiership with the Knights outweighed his rugby union dreams.
A five-year deal would mean that Ponga, at 27 years old, would still be in his athletic prime to attack a potential rugby union career, as well as giving him two full seasons to stake his claim for the 2027 Rugby World Cup.
An official announcement on Ponga’s new deal is expected as early as the end of the week.
Ponga’s deal comes after constant speculation surrounding his future, and the 22-year-old will be glad to finally let his football take centre stage.
“I appreciate everyone wanting to know what I’m doing. But it’s the same thing as it’s always been,” he said in March on his contract talks.
“I don’t think I was too consistent last year. I think I can be better in that area – performing week in and week out.
“The Knights are foremost on my mind. I want to win – I want to win a comp.”
Ponga’s love for Newcastle has a town is no secret, with the Maroons Origin star explaining why he loves the lifestyle so much.
“The lifestyle here is very relaxing. It suits my personality and suits who I am and my lifestyle away from footy,” he told the NRL Sunday Footy Show in April.
“I love playing for the community and this town. We don’t have fans, we have supporters. When we’re going through the hard times they’re still there.”
With speculation about his future in the rear-view mirror, Ponga and the Knights will aim to get off to a flying start upon the NRL’s return when they take on the Panthers on Sunday.
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