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Ponga concedes season is over

Newcastle captain Kalyn Ponga has put a line through his NRL season despite making progress in his recovery from a concussion.

Ponga hasn’t featured for the Knights after suffering his third concussion in the space of six weeks during a defeat to the Sydney Roosters last month.

The Queensland State of Origin star has been working with specialists to determine his recovery process.

After suffering headaches and forgetfulness following his latest head knock, Ponga says he’s showing no symptoms now.

Despite looking on track to have the all-clear for a playing return by Round 24, with the Knights already out of the finals race, Ponga said a cautious approach would be taken.

“I’d be sweet for the last round but doing no contact for the year, it probably would be a wise thing not to play the last round,” Ponga told Triple M Newcastle radio.

“My season’s done.

“It’s a bit weird. I feel OK now. At the start I felt a bit weird, headaches and whatnot, but I feel alright now.

“It’s just hard. I feel OK. I feel fit. I want to play but I guess I’m just going through the protocols at the moment.”

Ponga’s decision would make it hard for the fullback to prove his form and fitness for selection in Australia’s World Cup squad.

The 24-year-old, who signed a five-year contract with the Knights earlier this year, said the Kangaroos hadn’t factored into his decision-making but he hadn’t ruled out being a part of Mal Meninga’s squad if chosen.

“I haven’t really spoken to the club or had much thought about that,” he said.

“It’s probably something I’ll think about or touch on in coming weeks.

“I haven’t had the conversation with anyone yet about anything to do with the World Cup.”

Despite the concerning amount of head knocks he’d endured in 2022, Ponga was confident the issue wouldn’t impact his career long-term based on the advice he’s received from experts.

“It is tough. I feel sweet. There’s nothing wrong with me,” he said.

“I can’t feel anything but I just have to trust the process that’s ahead of me.”


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