Kalyn Ponga, who currently represents the Newcastle Knights in the National Rugby League as a full back and five-eighth, has made no secret of his desire to star for the All Blacks at a Rugby World Cup.
While his route there appeared challenging previously, contract details suggest Ponga’s dream can become a reality in time for the 2023 showpiece, which is sure to delight the Aussie born rugby star.
Ponga, 22, joined the Newcastle Knights in 2018, an NRL team which is popular with anyone on the hunt for fantastic online sports odds. June of this year saw the man who hails from Port Hedland sign an extension with his current employers until 2024, and this, for many, was an indication he wouldn’t be able to make a switch to pursue his World Cup dreams. But, the way Ponga’s contract is structured means the opportunity is there if he wishes to take it.
On penning a new deal with the Newcastle Knights earlier in the summer, the final two years of his extension are not compulsory according to the information the NRL revealed recently. Instead, Ponga’s contract, which is worth millions of dollars, allows the full-back to opt-out of the final two years of his deal, which means in November 2022 he can effectively make himself a free agent. On doing so, Ponga can make the necessary moves which will allow his World Cup dream to come true, which, of course, must include a code switch.
When Ponga pledged his future to the Knights five months ago, the club was quick to deny that any clauses in the player’s contract which would allow him to chase his World Cup dream existed. But, the NRL revelations say different, and the event which takes place in France in 2023 is a realistic aim for the player who made no secret of his aspirations a couple of years ago.
If Ponga did decide to opt-out of the final two years of his current deal, and it wasn’t to move to the right path to challenge for a place in the All Blacks squad, he could, of course, leave the Knights to make himself available for rival NRL teams willing to pay him big bucks to join. It would prove to be a blow to the Knights, and it’s unlikely to happen due to the player’s commitment to the cause since joining in 2018.
Ponga, who was born in Western Australia in 1998, spent five years living in New Zealand. And this, coupled with his Maori heritage which comes via his father, Andre, means he is eligible to represent the country at international level. Doing so would prove to be a remarkable achievement, but for now, Ponga insists he is focused on the task at hand, which is winning a trophy with his current employers the Newcastle Knights. And it isn’t outside of the realms of reality this could happen sooner rather than later.