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

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.


Warriors star Shaun Johnson recovering after eye surgery

Warriors star Shaun Johnson is set to be ready for the 2018 NRL season after successful surgery to remove benign growth on his right eye.

Johnson, 27, underwent surgery yesterday to remove a pterygium (a growth on the white of the eye) and should be fit in time to play for the Warriors in their season opener in Perth next month, according to the NZ Herald.

The halfback has had issues with his eye for about a year now and is expected to return to training next week.

Black Caps veteran Ross Taylor underwent a similar procedure in 2016, which forced the New Zealand batsman to miss the Chappell-Hadlee series against Australia.

The Warriors take on the Melbourne Storm on February 17 in a preseason hit out ahead of their 2018 season opener against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Perth on March 10.


'We're not being bullied' - Warriors refuse to back down over Etene Nanai-Seturo future

The Warriors won't be bullied by New Zealand Rugby over the future of youngster Etene Nanai-Seturo, Warriors chief executive Cameron George says.

Nanai-Seturo, 18, is contracted to the Warriors until the end of next year, although he's made his intentions to switch codes to rugby union clear to the Auckland NRL club.

The young talent was picked for the New Zealand side to compete in Sydney last week, before being selected to play in Hamilton this weekend.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, George says that his club will do everything they can to keep the youngster for the duration of his contract, despite the intentions of New Zealand Rugby.

"New Zealand Rugby know we are in dispute over who is the employer. I've used the word disrespect and that's how they choose to play in these circumstances. We would never do that. That's their call," he said.

"The big bully tactic? We're not being bullied at all, we're standing our ground here. I have an obligation to protect the Warriors and we have a responsibility to be professional and never disrespect another code in the manner we are dealt with."

"You can draw your own conclusion over whether we have been bullied, but I'm not moving. I'm standing for what I believe in principle is correct."

It has been reported that the 18-year old has signed with the Chiefs, despite still being contracted by the Auckland NRL side.

Nanai-Seturo made his debut for the All Blacks Sevens last weekend in Sydney, despite the tug-of-war. Source: 1 NEWS