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Kalyn Ponga slots winner in moment of controversy

Newcastle’s thrilling extra-time win will go down as one of the club’s best finals performances as the Knights prepare now for a trip across the ditch to play the Warriors.

Kalyn Ponga’s penalty goal in the dying moments of extra time delivered a 30-28 victory for his side over the Raiders, but it was one of many controversial moments in the game.

The fullback went on the attack close to the line with a six-again call for offside sounding around the game before he dropped the ball after he was hit high by Jack Wighton.

Newcastle’s trainer attended to Ponga with Queensland coach Billy Slater stating “he looks in trouble”.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Kalyn Ponga acknowledge the crowd after an extra-time win. (Getty)

NRL legend Brad Fittler also expressed his concerns.

“The Bunker should come into play and be looking at this because if he gets called for a HIA he’ll have to come straight off for 15 minutes,” he said.

Newcastle’s trainer then ruled for Ponga to stay on the field with Knights great Andrew Johns in awe of the spectacle.

“This has been one of the greats, they’re going to talk about this game for years and years,” he said.

Ponga then slotted the penalty with a minute and a half left in extra time. The Raiders couldn’t find the winner in possession as full-time blew.

Newcastle was first on the board when Greg Marzhew went over after five minutes but from there it was all Canberra.

James Schiller scored a first-half double and Trey Mooney grabbed a try too as the Raiders led 16-6 at half-time.

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

The Knights came out of the sheds without Jackson Hastings who reaggravated his ankle injury but it didn’t seem to impact them as they ran in four consecutive tries with Ponga, Dominic Young and Dane Gagai all going over to make it 28-16 in the 63rd minute.

Amid the madness, Jack Wighton was put on report early into the second half with Tyson Gamble accusing him of biting.

Canberra then proceeded to produce an inspiring comeback with Matt Frawley and Tom Starling both scoring to set up extra time.

Canberra may look back on missed opportunities in the final 10 minutes with Jamal Fogarty kicking to the corner in attacking territory while he also had a field goal charged down by Tyson Gamble.

Right before Ponga’s penalty, Fogarty also kicked the ball out on the full, giving the Knights an opportunity they took full advantage of.

“Newcastle have won one of the greatest finals we’ve ever seen,” commentator Mat Thompson said on Nine’s coverage at full-time.

Post-game, Ponga said there were no concerns about his head from the penalty goal incident.

“I was definitely OK to make the kick,” he said.

Newcastle will now head to New Zealand for another elimination final against the Warriors, while Canberra’s season is over along with Wighton’s career in the green jersey.


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