What's the real reason Newcastle Knights won't act on Kalyn Ponga?

·Contributor
·3-min read
Video emerged of Kalyn Ponga and Kurt Mann leaving a toilet cubicle (pictured left) and Kalyn Ponga (pictured right).
Video emerged of Kalyn Ponga and Kurt Mann leaving a toilet cubicle (pictured left) but the Knights will leave any action up to the NRL while it is investigating. (Images: Provided/Getty Images)

They took little time in disciplining Dave Klemmer for swearing at a trainer and swiftly dropped Bradman Best and Enari Tuala for being a few minutes late to the team bus – but it seems the Newcastle Knights would rather let others take on Team Kalyn Ponga.

That's the only assumption you can make after two days of relative inaction over Kalyn Ponga's cubicle visit with teammate Kurt Mann on Saturday night.

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Newcastle director of football, Peter Parr, fronted the media on Tuesday to reveal the club would not be taking the matter any further – for now – and that the case was in the hands of the NRL's Integrity Unit.

That's standard protocol but also a convenient out for a club walking on eggshells when dealing with Ponga, fearful of upsetting the superstar's influential old man, Andre.

Andre controlled the circus that became Ponga's re-signing earlier in the year and quickly got on the front foot with this latest drama, blaming the cubicle visit on his son suddenly becoming ill after over-celebrating the purchase of a property that day.

"Just because it’s not a good look doesn't straight away mean anyone has done anything wrong," Parr insisted.

"It is not a good look, but all the facts are not established.

"We will establish all the facts and then make a decision on that. We haven't discussed any punishment yet because we don't know if there is any punishment to be had."

Why haven’t the facts been established after talking to the two players?

What questions were and were not asked?

How deep did the club's probe go?

NRL Integrity Unit to investigate Ponga incident

Newcastle has now effectively left it to the Integrity Unit to do its dirty work and investigate what it can't, or won't.

Asked if Ponga and Mann had taken illicit substances, Parr responded: "The indications to me is that didn’t happen, so I have to be confident that's the case."

Hardly the strongest of endorsements.

Asked if Ponga had broken protocols around drinking while in injury rehab, Parr said: "My information is he's not been told by any of the medical staff that he couldn't drink. And we haven't established yet exactly how much that he had, so that's part of the process.

Kalyn Ponga (pictured) runs the ball during an NRL match.
Kalyn Ponga (pictured) runs the ball during an NRL match. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

"We're open minded about it."

Again, all a bit wishy washy.

It will now be left to the IU to do the heavy lifting and establish whether anything dodgy occurred in the cubicle.

The Knights can then fall into line with the findings, whichever they go, and say they were simply acting on instructions.

How convenient.

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