Kalyn Ponga has revealed he sensationally declined the invite to the Dally M awards and wasn't even going the morning of the event, which partly explains why his girlfriend wasn't on the NRL red carpet with him. Ponga won his first Dally M award in stunning fashion having overtaken Shaun Johnson in the final round of voting to win by one point.
However, there was surprise that the Knights fullback turned up to the NRL's biggest night for individual awards without his girlfriend. The superstar was smiling on the red carpet and melted hearts when he appeared alongside his mother.
And in a stunning development, Ponga has revealed he wasn't planning on attending the Dally M awards. Ponga was asked on Hughesy, Ed and Erin's 2DayFM radio show why his girlfriend wasn't there with him on the red carpet.
And the fullback gave a pretty startling explanation on his thoughts the morning of the event. "I wasn't going to go. I actually sent the NRL an email that morning saying I didn't want to go," Ponga said on Hughesy, Ed and Erin's 2DayFM radio show.
"I just wanted to sit back and watch it at home. They then said I had to go." He later revealed to the Channel Nine's Today show that he also wanted his mother at the awards as a thank you for being by his side throughout his journey.
"I wasn't going to go yesterday, to be honest," Ponga said on Thursday morning. "When I woke up in the morning I actually sent the NRL an email saying I didn't want to go.
"I just wanted to sit at home and watch it on the couch. But I had to last minute get ready, and my mum... she can get ready pretty quick."
Thankfully for Ponga he attended having produced one of the all-time great individual performances in a season to win the Dally M award. Ponga melted hearts when he turned up to the Dally M red carpet with his mother and praised her influence in helping him achieve the highest individual honour for an NRL player.
"But once I knew that maybe I was going to be in contention, I thought if I'm going to win this it would be special to take Mum," he added. "She's been there the whole journey of the last five years, and she deserves to be there. "
Kalyn Ponga's touching moment in acceptance speech
Ponga clearly thought he wasn't going to win the award with the fullback sheepish on stage as he faced his peers after a sensational season. But admitted his motivation to turn his form around this year stemmed from a rather sad time. "It's a crazy feeling, I feel humbled and very lucky," Ponga said.
"I have a lot of people to thank - my family, the staff and my teammates. The way I played this year is impossible without your support and love and belief in me.
"I had an early-season holiday and when I was over there I decided I wanted to stop letting people down, and yeah, what a year."
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