2022-04-19 09:57:00

Kalyn Ponga’s contract mess has taken another turn with claims on Tuesday his deal with Newcastle is back on.

The farcical negotiation on Monday night saw the Knights branded a “basket case” over an accusation Knights chief executive Phil Gardner had not been telling senior figures, including coach Adam O’Brien, about updates in the rollercoaster saga.

The situation took several more dramatic turns on Monday with The Daily Telegraph standing by its report that Newcastle had taken its contract extension offer off the table.

O’Brien last week dismissed reports Ponga is halfway out the door.

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Rumours have previously suggested Ponga’s dad Andre, who is acting as his son’s unaccredited player agent, is at the centre of the breakdown after a dispute with the club about how the three-year contract extension would be announced.

The new deal reportedly would have seen Ponga earn $1.1m to $1.2m per season in a three-year upgrade beginning from 2025 through to the end of the 2027 season. Ponga is already signed until the end of the 2024 season, but reportedly has a clause in his favour not to activate the final two years of the original contract.

The 24-year-old could now ignore the contract clauses and leave Newcastle after this season.

Ponga has previously been spotted meeting with Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett.

A rumour on Tuesday suggested an agreement has been reached between the Knights and Andre Ponga.

Ponga slays Dragons at both ends | 00:43

SEN’s Jimmy Smith said Ponga salvaged the deal for his son by apologising to the club.

Channel 7 journalist Michelle Bishop reported on SEN Breakfast the disagreement centred around a power struggle between Andre Ponga and the football club with Knights officials refusing to bow to a reported demand for the contract to be announced on Andre Ponga’s terms.

Smith said the power struggle was resolved when Andre Ponga apologised to club figures.

“The deal was pulled. It took some resurrecting on behalf of Andre,” he said.

“From what I understand Andre spent time yesterday apologising to key figures in the club.

“It’s back on the table because of Andre’s actions yesterday. The deal is to be announced very shortly. Really it’s a case of the Knights putting their foot down and saying we are in control of this club, not you.

“Caught in the middle of this is Kalyn, who just wants to play some footy.”

It comes after suggestions on Fox League’s NRL 360 that the entire negotiation was a “sham” because Andre Ponga is not an accredited agent with the Rugby League Players Association.

NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent said: “My understanding is that Gardner is the only one doing the negotiations with Andre Ponga — who is not a registered agent.

“I don’t know how this happens, I don’t know how the NRL allows it to happen.”

Kalyn Ponga of the Knights. Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

Ponga scored a try in an excellent performance against the Dragons in Round 6 and said he wasn’t feeling the pressure of his ongoing contract negotiation.

“No I don’t. I never have. I never will,” he said after the game.

“I don’t worry about it. All I am thinking about right now is the loss. Reviewing it hurts. It was a tough game.

“I know what I’m sort of feeling, but that’s between me and my management.

“I know you guys want to know what I’m doing.

“But like I respect you, I hope you guys respect that I want to make this decision on my terms … so that’s what I’m going to do.”

O’Brien was more upfront when he was asked about the reported contract withdrawal.

“Ridiculous. I had breakfast this morning and we were signing (Cameron) Munster,” he said.

“I can’t keep up with you guys, fair dinkum.

“I think he (Ponga) showed tonight why he is worth the wait. I think his performance tonight showed how committed he is to this team, and we are committed to him too.

“We’re are still going through their processes … things are tracking along.

“Certainly the way he played tonight shows his focus has been on the team.”

#Dad #Andre #apology #Dolphins #Wayne #Bennett

Source by [graycupnews.com]

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