Video: 'He was just worried' - NRL prodigy Kalyn Ponga reveals Johnathan Thurston's plea to stay with Cowboys

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Teenage NRL prodigy Kalyn Ponga said his move to play for Newcastle Knights was best the decision for his career and his family despite the efforts of rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston trying to keep him at the North Queensland Cowboys.

Ponga, 19, trained under the watchful eye of Thurston for two years at the Cowboys and played with him before the teen was lured to the Knights on a four-year deal worth $3.9 million.

"Obviously he cares about me being a young bloke and he had me under his wing I guess for the last two years up there (North Queensland)," said Ponga.

"I think he was a bit worried, I just decided to go down my own path."

Ponga believes the move to Newcastle was important so he can get more game time at fullback.

"Huge, it was one of the main reasons why I signed and like I said I just wanted to play regular footy."

He has played nine NRL games and joins new recruitments Mitchell Pearce, Aiden Guerra, Conor Watson, Tautau Moga, Jacob Lillyman, Herman Ese’ese, Chris Heighington and Slade Griffin.

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