Kalyn Ponga’s father Andre says her ‘passion is for women’s football’

Kalyn Ponga’s father Andre says his real passion is for women’s football and he wants to continue helping the Knights become a force in the NRLW – which comes with his son’s blessing.

Andre Ponga, who was alongside Kalyn when he announced a five-year deal with the Knights earlier this week, has brushed off conflict of interest allegations after working with the Newcastle women’s team on a voluntary basis This year.

The Knights are yet to win an NRLW game after finishing winless in their inaugural season, the delayed 2021 competition. The six-team competition will return for the 2022 season later this year.

But Andre Ponga insists he wants to help the Knights club improve as a whole and sees women’s football as a huge opportunity for growth.

“My passion is women’s football,” he said. “I see this space with a lot of purity. I was raised by mothers, aunts and grandmothers. I don’t need to do it but I have a passion for it.

“If we as a family can help the club become a successful club as a whole, it has to be good for Kalyn to achieve his goals as well. It has to be holistic.

Kalyn and Andre Ponga at Newcastle on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

“He saw it when making his decision. If I can put time and effort into the women’s space, especially after the last campaign where it was so difficult, then that’s great. He supports me to do so. That’s the only thing he said to me. It might look like a conflict of interest, but he said I would do it well and honorably.

The Knights have named Ronald Griffiths, Laurie Daley’s Native All-Star assistant and member of Michael Maguire’s support staff at the Wests Tigers, to be their NRLW head coach for the 2022 season.