Newcastle may fear Brisbane more than rugby union when it comes to retaining Kalyn Ponga but Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold admits the Broncos cannot afford the NRL superstar.
Knights chief executive Phil Gardner said the Queensland powerhouse was a bigger threat than the All Blacks as far as he was concerned in the battle to secure Ponga’s long-term future.
Newcastle are eager to tie up a deal with the Queensland State of Origin representative before he is able to formally field offers from rival NRL clubs in November.
Seibold said in an ideal world the Broncos would be thrilled to welcome back the fullback after he held a development scholarship at Red Hill as a 13-year-old, but the Knights’ concerns were unfounded.
“If we had open slather of course I’d go for Kalyn Ponga, he’s an outstanding player,” Seibold said.
“I think every club in the NRL competition would like someone like Kalyn in their group regardless of what position he plays.
“We’ve certainly not spoken about it, I’m not sure where that came from, but we’re guided by our salary cap. I think that’s a bit of pie in the sky sort of stuff.”
Of more immediate concern to Seibold is the retention of boom forward David Fifita.
The 20-year-old Queensland representative is off contract at the end of the season and local rivals Gold Coast have signalled they are desperate to lure him to the Titans on a big-money deal.
Seibold, however, says he’s confident Fifita will stay on at Red Hill.
“I don’t think it’s something we need played out in public but I’m really comfortable and really confident with where we’re at in the negotiations and David wants to let his footy do the talking too,” he said.
“I admire that and respect that.
“As a club we want to provide an environment for Dave to feel comfortable and play his best footy. I think we do that. He’s got a lot of his mates around him so again, without making any further comment in regards to where it’s at, we’re really comfortable.”
The Broncos face the Titans in a trial match at Redcliffe on Saturday.
With Alex Glenn still overcoming a hamstring issue, Seibold confirmed young backrower Patrick Carrigan will captain the team at Dolphin Stadium.
“It’s good for him, part of his development,” Seibold said.
“Obviously Darius (Boyd) is there as well so we’ve got plenty of experience but it’s a good reward for Patty.”