You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ponga not distracted by Knights move

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Laine Clark

It's enough to make any teenager's head spin.

But the headlines swirling around Kalyn Ponga has not proven a distraction for the NRL prodigy, North Queensland teammate Kyle Feldt says.

Since signing a lucrative four-year Newcastle deal from 2018, the 18-year-old Ponga has not been out of the news - sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

Ponga's father caused a stir when he asked North Queensland to release his son to Newcastle a year early because they were "neglecting his welfare".

The Knights have made it clear they have not given up hope of Ponga playing for them in 2017 after sealing the deal that will make him the highest paid teenager in NRL history.

It would distract most veterans, let alone a youngster with just two NRL games experience.

But Feldt said it had been business as usual for Ponga at pre-season training.

"He's alright. He's not too worried about all that," Feldt said.

Fringe Queensland player Feldt said he was more worried about Ponga taking his first grade spot.

Ponga played two games - both finals - for the then defending champions last year on the wing.

"He's just trying to secure a spot in our team," Feldt said of Ponga's mindset.

"He's part of that young group of players who keep pushing for spots."

North Queensland said they have "no intention" of releasing Ponga.

Cowboys football manager Peter Parr this week bit his tongue when quizzed about Ponga's father's claim, only saying he was proud of the club's player welfare.

Meanwhile, Feldt has already made improvements in the pre-season in a bid to finally crack the Queensland State of Origin team.

He was in the box seat for a Maroons debut before game one but was ultimately leapfrogged by Corey Oates and Dane Gagai.

"I came back in a lot better shape than my last preseason, looked after myself and came back at a better weight," Feldt said.

"It should put me in good stead for the season coming up."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon