Sports

Newcastle Knights coach Adam O’Brien defends Kalyn Ponga meeting with Wayne Bennett

[ad_1]

A line of questioning regarding the future of Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga was abruptly cut short, as both he and coach Adam O’Brien scoffed at the idea that the contract saga was a distraction to the team.

“I’m just trying to handle what’s on the field,” Ponga said when asked about his meeting with Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett last week.

The 24-year-old is contracted to the Knights until the end of 2024, but the final two years are both player options.

ULTIMATE GUIDE: Everything you need to know about the 2022 Masters

EXCLUSIVE: Joey’s grave fear for brave NRL experiment

READ MORE: Blockbuster ahead as Gallen locks in next fight

READ MORE: Howler throws Champions League into ‘total chaos’

The Knights fullback fronted media after their horrid loss to Manly, and he was peppered with questions about his “lunch date” with Dolphins coach Bennett.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but every time you ask me I don’t give you an answer. So stay patient, I’ve got people that (are) working on it,” he said.

Newcastle get on the board

“Once (the meeting) happened I moved on and worried about the game.

“For me now, my next focus is reviewing the game, recovering and going into next week.”

He laughed off suggestions that his future was a distraction to the team and was swiftly backed up by his coach.

Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now

“It’s not a ‘lunch date’ – it’s his right, it’s in his contract,” O’Brien said, while saying he was totally fine with the meeting taking place.

“I’m comfortable because I don’t see a dip in any of his preparation, his hunger at training. That hasn’t wavered and usually I’ve got a radar out for that stuff.

“At the end of the day, I want him to make the best decision with all the information on the table, then there’s no regrets. If he chooses to stay then he’s made the choice with all the facts.

“I’m really comfortable with it either way and I know his teammates are – they’re in similar situations, I know it’s not as high profile at this stage of the year but they all come off contract, they all negotiate and they usually negotiate with more than one club.

“We’ll get the answer. He’s worth waiting for, from my perspective.”

As Ponga was then asked if losing multiple games in a row factored into his decision, he quickly dismissed that as the pair left the room.

It came on the back of a heavy 30-6 defeat at the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles in wet conditions at Hunter Stadium.

“I’m not that using that excuse,” O’Brien said of the weather.

NRLW stars share medal

“Our game was riddled with errors and ill-discipline… we fought hard to get back into it in the second period but undone it with some ill-discipline.

“There’s some stuff we clearly need to get better.”

“I thought Manly gave us some lessons on how to manufacture some tries in the wet,” he said, praising the kicking game of Daly Cherry-Evans.

Newcastle lost both Dom Young and Jirah Momoisea to injuries, the former hurting his knee while scoring a try that was later disallowed.

“I don’t think it looks good,” O’Brien said, saying they didn’t believe it to be an ACL tear.

“We don’t know – they’ve got to go for scans and all that.”

Newcastle will now get 10 days off to recuperate as its on-field problems – and the off-field Ponga saga – continue to drag on.

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.