Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga has thanked his fans for the well wishes after suffering yet another concussion but has left fans uncertain over his future amid the worrying drama. Less than two minutes into his second game of the season, Ponga was knocked unconscious attempting a tackle against the Wests Tigers and played no further part in the game.
Ponga's latest incident has sparked huge concerns over his wellbeing. The concussion was Ponga's fourth in 10 months and second worrying incident in two games.
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He missed the last six weeks of the 2022 season as he recovered from repeated head knocks. After the latest round, the NRL also made the biggest overhaul in years and announced a mandatory 11-day stand-down period for concussed players.
This is a huge move aimed at reducing the risk brain injuries for players. The move brings the NRL in line with World Rugby rules, with the stand-down period being implemented with success in the 15-man code overseas.
Ponga is due to miss this weekend's match against the Dolphins, but his return date is yet to be determined as his case is carefully assessed. And in a cryptic message that has left fans uncertain, Ponga appeared resigned to the fact that his immediate future in the NRL is currently unclear.
“Appreciate all the love and support over the past couple of days,” Ponga wrote on Instagram. "Whatever will be, will be. Appreciate you guys though, thank you xx.”
Ponga moved into the frontline to play five-eighth this year in an attempt to get his hands on the ball more during play. However, it has also seen him defend in the frontline and has resulted in a concussion and another concussion scare in just two games.
Knights coach defends Kalyn Ponga move
Earlier in the week, Knights great Matthew Johns called for Ponga to be moved back to fullback when he returns from the concussion. However, coach Adam O'Brien said there was more to it than just moving Ponga back to his old position.
"We're nowhere near that point yet," he said. "I can completely understand where people are coming from.
"Ultimately, everyone wants Kalyn in the game and everyone wants to take care of this guy. He's got a lot of life to lead yet. That's first and foremost. But there's a number of conversations that'll need to be had."
While there has been scrutiny over Ponga's move, coach O'Brien pointed out that the superstar wanted to the move for the 2023 season. O'Brien said the team had spoken to Ponga since the injury and he was in good spirits and they would help him in his recovery.
"He really wanted to go up there," O'Brien said. "His want to grab ownership of this team is probably paramount. That's probably how we got to it. Certainly Kalyn himself was excited by playing that position."
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