Kalyn Ponga’s move to five-eighth is all but locked in amid reports the Knights are set to sign Sharks fullback Lachlan Miller.
News Corp journalist Phil Rothfield revealed on Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast that Miller
“They are about to solve the biggest problem at the club, which is finding an NRL fullback,” Rothfield said.
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“There’s been talk in the off-season with Kalyn Ponga moving to five-eighth that Dane Gagai, Tyson Gamble or even Bailey Hodgson would have to wear the No.1 jersey in Round 1.
“I can tell you that Lachlan Miller, the former Australian Sevens star, will be the fullback for the Knights in the opening round of the season.”
Miller’s deal will be finalised over the next fortnight, allowing the 28-year-old Rugby Sevens convert to join his new club for the 2023 season, according to aNews Corp report.
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The Sharks were initially against releasing Miller, who is contracted until the end of 2023, but are now willing to let him go given they can’t match the money — or opportunity — the Knights are offering.
Rothfield called Miller’s early release a “brave call” by the Sharks because he “can play” and is “an explosive ballrunner.” But Rothfield believes it’s the “right thing” given Miller now has the opportunity to set up his future.
The Sharks are however said to be exploring a potential player swap, according to News Corp.
Miller grew up playing rugby league but forged a successful career as a Rugby Sevens player before reverting to league last year.
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He joined the Sharks on a two-year NRL deal with coach Craig Fitzgibbon the only person willing to take a chance on him.
Miller starred at both fullback and five-eighth for Cronulla’s New South Wales Cup feeder side, Newtown Jets before earning an NRL debut at fullback in Round 11.
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He went on to play six more games — two on the wing and one off the bench — including the Sharks’ semi-final loss to the Rabbitohs.
It’s unlikely the Tokyo Olympian would get much game time in 2023 though given Will Kennedy has nailed down the No.1 jersey and young gun Kade Dykes is considered the club’s future fullback.
Miller’s signature will allow Knights coach Adam O’Brien to follow through with his plan to move Ponga to the halves.
O’Brien revealed last week that Ponga was thriving in his new position.
“If we were ever going to move Kalyn to six, now is the time,” he said.
“Essentially, we’ve had five months. He had a very brief break in October and then started training before everyone else. We changed his training program and he’s obviously put some size on in the gym.
“He’s been training at six all summer and he has been doing a really good job at it.”