Kalyn Ponga shocks Aussie selectors with World Cup decision

·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
Kalyn Ponga for the Knights.
Kalyn Ponga (pictured) won't be touring with the Australian squad for the World Cup. (Getty Images)

Kalyn Ponga has made the big call to opt out of World Cup selection after deciding to focus on pre-season training for 2023.

Ponga informed Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga on Wednesday of his decision to rule himself out possible selection for the tournament, which starts next month in England.

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The Knights and Queensland fullback missed the last month of the NRL season due to repeated concussions, with his club finishing in 14th spot.

However, in a shock move, Ponga has opted to remain with his club to focus on the 2023 season.

"I understand the potential opportunities that may be missed by this decision, however, due to the year we have endured, I really want to commit on the upcoming pre-season," Ponga said in a club statement.

"My focus will sit firmly with nailing pre-season from the start, and I believe this decision is in the best interest of myself and the Knights."

Ponga has surprisingly never played a game for Australia.

While incumbent fullback James Tedesco is unlikely to be replaced for the Kangaroos, Ponga was expected to play a role in the World Cup.

His standout performance for Queensland in State of Origin was all but sure to see him play a role in Meninga's side.

The 24-year-old was also recently cleared of any wrongdoing after being filmed coming out of a toilet cubicle in Newcastle with Knights teammate Kurt Mann.

Kalyn Ponga cleared of wrongdoing

The video of Ponga and Mann in the toilet cubicle prompted a two-week investigation by the NRL integrity unit.

However, the probe and a subsequent drug test was widely criticised by the players' union.

Kalyn Ponga (pictured) attended to by a trainer.
Kalyn Ponga (pictured) was ruled out for the remainder of the Knights' season after repeated concussions. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Regardless, the duo were both cleared of wrongdoing last week.

There has been no word on whether the Knights would hand down a club sanction on Ponga.

with AAP

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