Staying Put

All Blacks goal on hold as league sensation Kalyn Ponga signs new NRL deal

The 22-year-old has agreed a new four-year contract with the Newcastle Knights.

RUGBY LEAGUE SENSATION Kalyn Ponga has signed a new four-year deal with the Newcastle Knights in Australia’s National Rugby League [NRL] to keep him at the club until 2024.

nrl-raiders-knights Ponga in action for the Knights in the NRL. AAP / PA Images AAP / PA Images / PA Images

The 22-year-old star had been linked with a possible switch to play rugby union in recent years, with former All Blacks boss Steve Hansen commenting that “you’ve got to be aware of him, he’s a special player” in 2018.

Ponga was born in Australian but spent five years of his childhood living in New Zealand.

The gifted playmaker has Māori heritage through his Kiwi-born parents and has previously expressed his admiration for the All Blacks.

“Obviously that would be a huge goal, if I was to come back to union,” Ponga told of potentially wearing an All Blacks jersey some day

“I’m not too sure what my future is going to hold and whether I’m going to stay in league or change codes, but if I was to go back to union, I would want to strive for that black jumper. I think it’s the pinnacle.

nrl-indigenous-maori-all-stars-teams-media-call Ponga has Kiwi roots. AAP / PA Images AAP / PA Images / PA Images

“They are the best sporting organisation in the world, the stats have showed that. The way they hold themselves and their values and it’s just the little things that they do that make them that step above everyone else. To put that jersey on would be pretty special.”

For now, however, Ponga will remain in league with the Newcastle Knights as he vowed to help the club in their bid to end a 19-year NRL title drought.

Ponga, who is currently a fullback in rugby league, has played for Queensland in the State of Origin series, as well as featuring for the Māori All Stars and the Australia 9s team.

His new four-year deal with the Knights is reported to be worth around €2.7 million.

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