Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga’s comeback game with concussion comes in round eight

Kalyn Ponga is expected to return in two weeks after fully recovering from his recent concussion.

After consultation with local and foreign specialists, Ponga’s next NRL appearance will come in round eight against North Queensland. His return will be a huge boost for an injury-plagued Newcastle side who have been competitive in his absence, notching two wins and a draw against Manly last weekend.

Ponga recently flew to Canada where he used concussion testing technology not currently available in Australia. After undergoing an advanced neurophysiological evaluation in Vancouver, the Maroons star has been cleared to resume his career.

“We are pleased with the objective evidence from our independent testing, which indicates his cognitive function is returning to normal,” said Knights director of football Peter Parr.

“Kalyn has recovered well from his recent concussion but has had limited specific training due to the amount of travel he has had to undertake in recent weeks.

“We will now focus on building his physical and tactical performance with the goal of returning in round eight against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.”

Kalyn Ponga is close to an NRL return.

Kalyn Ponga is close to an NRL return.Credit: Getty Images

There were concerns over Ponga’s immediate future as a player after suffering his fourth concussion in 10 months in his side’s opening-round win over Wests Tigers. However, he will make his 100th NRL appearance against his former club in Townsville.

Which position he plays will be a big topic of conversation leading up to Ponga’s return. Coach Adam O’Brien moved the 25-year-old from full-back to fifth for the 2023 season, a move Ponga was keen to make. However, there is a feeling that he might be more prone to headbutts in the front line where he needs to do more on defense.

Ryan Sederquist

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