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NRL 2022 Kalyn Ponga sticking at fullback for Newcastle Knights


Kalyn Ponga has shut down any talk of a positional switch at the Newcastle Knights, saying that the number one will remain on his back for the foreseeable future.

As Adam O’Brien’s side returned for pre-season training on yesterday, Ponga assured Knights faithful that he wasn’t looking to move to five-eighth.

“I’m playing fullback,” he said.

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“There was discussion, but I put that to bed.

Ponga said there were conversations with his coach, but they eventually agreed that him staying fullback was best for the team.

“I want to work at my craft at the back, I still think I’ve got plenty to go back there,” Ponga said.

“For me, it’s about being better in my position.”

Jake Clifford will be the halfback, but with the departures of Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson, the contenders to partner him are limited. One of Adam Clune, Tex Hoy, or Phoenix Crossland would be the frontrunner.

“It’s healthy competition in the halves, and us as a group and a spine, we want to get better,” Ponga said.

Andrew Johns returning to Knights

Because of the club’s lack of depth in the halves, many, including the club’s best ever player Andrew Johns, were clamouring for Ponga to make the switch.

The Knights did experiment with Ponga in the halves during the Nathan Brown era, but only for a couple of weeks at the start of the 2019 season before he moved back to his preferred position.

Johns is now back coaching at the club where he forged his legacy as one of the best to ever do it.

“I’ve had two sessions with him already, and in those two sessions I just feel the amount of detail, and attention, care and want that he has,” Ponga said.

“He’s going to be awesome for us.”

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