Leading NRL journalist Michael Chammas has questioned whether Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga truly loves the game of rugby league, declaring Newcastle staffers are “walking on eggshells” in their attempts to appease the fullback’s family.
Ponga this week found his name in the headlines after he addressed his infamous toilet cubicle incident from last August for the first time publicly.
He told reporters he spent the off-season doing “a lot of self-reflecting”, and that the specific period in question was “one of the most difficult moments” of his life.
But the 24-year-old raised eyebrows when he suggested, that while out for the season at the time due to repeated head knocks, he wasn’t aware of the effects “alcohol could have on concussions”.
“I call bulls–t on that. There are people at that club that are dumbfounded by that claim,” Chammas said on LiSTNR’s Footy Talk League Podcast.
“I like Kalyn Ponga, I’ve had a lot to do with him over the years and I think he’s a terrific guy.
“The question with Kalyn Ponga over the years, is whether he likes rugby league enough?
“I remember many years ago doing a video session with him and Mitchell Pearce… he admitted to me at the time that he doesn’t watch rugby league, he doesn’t love the game.
“He grew up playing all different sports, he was a golfing champion in New Zealand at a young age.
“He doesn’t love the game like some – like a Boyd Cordner or James Tedesco.
“He plays it because he’s very good at it.”
Chammas then claimed people at the club are constantly trying to appease Ponga’s father.
“The problem at Newcastle at the moment, and it’s not Kalyn, it’s people at that club trying to appease his father Andre, to make sure that he stays happy.
“People are walking on eggshells at that club… and Kalyn just goes with the wind.”
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