Ponga won’t hold back despite ‘unfortunate accident’
Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga has declared he won't change his competitive playing style following his unfortunate collision with Wests Tigers forward Michael Chee Kam.
Ponga was controversially sent to the sin bin during last Friday's loss to the Tigers when his left shoulder made contact with Chee Kam's head.
There were serious concerns for the Tigers back-rower as play was stopped for more than five minutes before he was stretchered off the field and taken to hospital.
Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >
Chee Kam is expected to play against North Queensland on Thursday night after passing a series of head concussion tests this week.
Ponga avoided suspension with the match review committee deeming his contact with Chee Kam "unavoidable".
The Knights fullback was frank when asked if the incident will prompt him to change his playing style.
"No - I don't know what they want me to do," Ponga said.
"I was competing for the footy. That is what you do in this sport.
"It was unfortunate that it happened and I feel really bad that I did make contact with his head but there was no intention in it. It was just an accident.
"I'm going to compete for the footy as much as I can and I just hope it doesn't happen that way again.
"I was just competing for the ball and I had to brace and it was just unfortunate that I hit his head.
"I think he (Chee Kam) saw it that way as well that I was only competing and then the judiciary saw it that way as well.
"I didn't feel like I should or shouldn't have been charged because I knew it was an accident."
Ponga has bigger things on his mind following Newcastle's recent poor form.
On the back of four straight losses, the Knights have slumped to ninth position on the ladder with six rounds remaining.
Ponga knows his side can't afford to be negative, especially with their season on the line in clashes against Manly (A), Parramatta (A), Cowboys (H), Tigers (A), Titans (H) and Panthers (A).
"We have to do that now," he said.
"We can't dwell and get down on ourselves.
"Our performances haven't been good enough and we've been losing, which doesn't help.
"Our defence is probably the main thing that we need to rectify, so he (Brown) has made some changes, which were pretty big.
"We'll see how the changes go but the boys that are coming in want to be there and want to defend and do the jersey proud."