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Cowboys proud of NRL player welfare: Parr

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016 Laine Clark

North Queensland football manager Peter Parr says the Cowboys are proud of their player management after Kalyn Ponga's father claimed the club was neglecting the NRL prodigy's welfare.

Ponga's dad Andre told News Corp that North Queensland should "do the right thing" and release the teenager from the final year of his Cowboys contract after falling out with the club.

The Cowboys have stated they have "no intention" of releasing Ponga next year after the youngster recently signed a lucrative four-year deal with Newcastle from 2018.

"We are proud of our club, of how we look after our people both internally and externally - that's all I have to say," Parr said.

The Knights have remained hopeful that Ponga will receive a release after snapping up the 18-year-old with just two NRL games experience on a deal reportedly worth $700,000 a year.

And Newcastle looked closer to getting their wish after Ponga's father claimed "things went pearshaped" at the Cowboys after his son knocked back a two-year extension in April.

He claimed he now had concerns for his son's welfare because the club had made it hard for the teenager to continue his university studies.

"It's left Kalyn disillusioned because they are not offering any encouragement to him," he told News Corp.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has since backed the Cowboys, saying Ponga would receive the development needed to handle the intense Newcastle spotlight with another year at North Queensland.

Meninga even said Newcastle must "get it right" with Ponga's welfare.

"They need to ... try to protect him as much as they can from the pressure and expectations that are going to be on him," he told Queensland Former Origin Greats website.

Meninga admitted it was a "brave move" to sign with wooden spooners Newcastle but was just glad Ponga had stuck with the NRL.

"We all know that the (AFL's) Brisbane Lions and (rugby union's) Queensland Reds were chasing pretty heavily for him, and it would have been the worst case scenario to see Kalyn go to another code," he said.

"I guess a lot of people were surprised that he ended up signing with Newcastle.

"I think it is a brave move, because they are obviously a club that has a lot of rebuilding to do after the mess of the past few seasons.

"As a club, the Knights had to do something.

"And in Kalyn, they can obviously see a young guy that they can build a club around for the future."

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