There are fears over Kalyn Ponga‘s future in the NRL after the Knights skipper suffered yet another concussion in his side’s win over the Wests Tigers.
Ponga’s afternoon came to an end inside two minutes after a sickening head clash with Tigers youngster Asu Kepaoa in the Knights’ 14-12 win at Leichhardt Oval.
The Knights captain came off his line to meet an onrushing Kepaoa but clashed heads and was left flattened immediately afterwards before being helped back onto his feet.
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Nine’s commentary team was left stunned when the clash occurred, with lead caller Mat Thompson calling it a “dramatic scene”.
“Oh no. Ponga has been hit flush. Oh dear! Kalyn is not at all well,” he said.
“What a devastating blow for the Knights.”
“It was always a gamble putting Kalyn in the front line defensively. That was always the worry,” league icon Andrew Johns added.
The concussion is Ponga’s fourth in the space of 10 months and comes after his 2022 season was ended prematurely following three concussions in six weeks.
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Knights coach Adam O’Brien confirmed that Ponga would miss the round three clash against the Dolphins, but downplayed concerns over the star’s tackling technique.
“I looked at his tackle technique, his tackle selection, and he got off the line quite hard, so I think it caught him by surprise,” he said.
“I’ve seen him make that tackle a thousand times over the summer, so I’m not too concerned by that.”
O’Brien said it was “too early” to say whether Ponga’s long-term future in the game might be impacted by his latest head knock.
“We’ll just follow the protocols. He’s had the summer off. He’s had some extended breaks,” he said.
“He obviously won’t play (in round three), we’ve got a five-day turnaround.
“He was cleared to play the last two games last year … but we chose not to play him.”
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