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Cowboys rule out early release for Ponga

AAP logoAAP 28/11/2016 Laine Clark

North Queensland have slammed the door shut on NRL prodigy Kalyn Ponga receiving an early release to rivals Newcastle.

The Knights officially confirmed Ponga had signed a four year deal from 2018 on Monday - then kept their fingers crossed the gifted teenager would "arrive at an earlier date".

However, Cowboys football manager Peter Parr said Ponga would see out his North Queensland contract in 2017.

It echoed Cowboys coach Paul Green's stance when news first broke earlier this month that the 18-year-old had signed a lucrative Newcastle contract reportedly worth up to $700,000 a season.

It would make him the highest paid teenager in NRL history.

"We've been on record to say we have ruled it out - we won't be releasing him," Parr told AAP.

"He's contracted with us."

Newcastle prompted speculation that Ponga may be released when they officially confirmed the teenager's signing.

"As it stands, we are excited about Kalyn joining us in 2018," Newcastle chief executive Matt Gidley said in a statement.

"Should the Cowboys decide to release Kalyn before the conclusion of his contract, we would certainly welcome him to the club at an earlier date."

As a junior Ponga was chased by six clubs and four sports before committing to the Cowboys.

Ponga then signed the lucrative Knights deal after playing just two NRL games for North Queensland.

He made his NRL debut on the wing in the Cowboys' finals win over Brisbane in September as an injury replacement.

Named at fullback in the NRL under 20s Team of the Year, Ponga was then retained for North Queensland's preliminary final loss to Melbourne a week later.

"There is no doubt Kalyn is a very talented and exciting young player and his signing is definitely a coup for the club," Knights coach Nathan Brown said.

"We look forward to further developing his talent and welcoming his family to Newcastle."

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