Kalyn Ponga is slammed for not being worth his $1m-a-year salary after pub toilet fiasco

NRL superstar Kalyn Ponga has been accused of being overpaid and giving Newcastle reason to doubt his full commitment to the club after he and a team-mate were caught being thrown off a pub toilet cubicle last weekend.

Football journalist Paul Kent says the fact the full-back drank heavily with fellow Knight Kurt Mann while his side played shows he is part of the struggling team’s cultural problem.

“The fact that the captain of the club, who is paid a million dollars a year, has so little attention that instead of sitting at home and watching and seeing how they behave, he is at the sauce,” Kent said on Fox’s NRL. 360 program on Tuesday evenings

His comments were backed up by fellow writer David Riccio, who said the Knights had doubts about Ponga’s commitment to the side.

“There is certainly an underlying feeling within Newcastle Knights as to whether Kalyn Ponga is 1000 per cent committed to this footy club,” he said.

Ponga is seen being thrown out of the toilet cubicle, drink in hand, in a pub last Saturday as his side lost to Brisbane

The star full-back and his team-mate Kurt Mann (pictured) have now been tested for doping by the NRL since the scandal broke on Monday

The star full-back and his team-mate Kurt Mann (pictured) have now been tested for doping by the NRL since the scandal broke on Monday

Riccio added that Newcastle were concerned that Ponga had played their best game of the year for the State of Origin side Queensland but did not come close to that level of play for his club.

Host Braith Anasta also chimed in, claiming Newcastle were to blame for signing Ponga to a whopping five-year deal despite knowing he was inconsistent on the pitch, and said the full-back ‘deadset’ won the lottery” when he landed his huge contract.

Meanwhile, NRL legend Paul Gallen is adamant Kalyn Ponga and his Knights team-mate Kurt Mann must be punished – even if they produce clean drug tests.

This follows the star fullback – who is on an annual salary of $1.2million – and utility Mann who were kicked out of a Newcastle pub toilet cubicle on Saturday.

Speaking on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio, Gallen believes a heavy sanction from club management will send the right message.

“You have the most prominent player at the club (Ponga), and probably the highest paid player at the club who is not playing because he is injured,” said the boxer.

“You had another player there who has muscle strain (Mann) – and they’re drinking. No wonder they don’t work well.

NRL legend turned fight boxer Paul Gallen thinks Knights stars Kalyn Ponga and fellow Knights teammate Kurt Mann need to be punished - even if they produce clean drug tests

NRL legend turned fight boxer Paul Gallen thinks Knights stars Kalyn Ponga and fellow Knights teammate Kurt Mann need to be punished – even if they produce clean drug tests

It follows the star fullback – who is on an annual salary of $1.2million – and utility Mann (pictured) being kicked out of a Newcastle pub toilet cubicle on Saturday

It follows the star fullback – who is on an annual salary of $1.2million – and utility Mann (pictured) being kicked out of a Newcastle pub toilet cubicle on Saturday

Gallen, 41, added that he ‘doesn’t care what happened in the toilet’ and that footballers ‘could kiss for all I want’ amid speculation they were doing sex party drug, which Daily Mail Australia does not imply.

Both Ponga and Mann were tested for doping on Tuesday after the NRL’s Integrity Unit launched an investigation into the matter.

If the results come back positive for illicit substances, it may be kept in-house if it is a first offense for footballers.

However, a second strike would result in an immediate 12-week ban.

On Monday, new Knights football boss Peter Parr admitted the duo could not be removed from their positions or fined.

“We haven’t discussed punishment yet because we don’t know if there’s a punishment to be had,” he said.

Ponga's father, Andre, offered an innocent explanation for the saga, stating that the teammates were together in the cabin because his son was sick.

Ponga’s father, Andre, offered an innocent explanation for the saga, stating that the teammates were together in the cabin because his son was sick.

Gallen (pictured after winning the 2016 NRL Grand Final) also said he

Gallen (pictured after winning the 2016 NRL Grand Final) also said he ‘didn’t care what happened in the toilets’ and footballers ‘could kiss for all I want’ amid speculation that they were doing party drugs.

“We’re going to run the process, figure out exactly what happened or didn’t happen, and then make decisions there.

“But we don’t have to make a decision on that yet because the process is not yet finalized and, as I said, we don’t even know if a sanction is still necessary.”

Ponga’s father, Andre, offered an innocent explanation for the saga, telling News Corp that the crewmates were together in the cabin because his son was sick.

“He (Kalyn) had an exciting house purchase on Saturday and celebrated with a few drinking buddies,” he said.

“(He was) sick in the toilet and his companion (Mann) came in to help him.”

Ponga, 24, will not play for the Knights again this season due to multiple concussions suffered this year.

It remains to be seen if he will be named in Australia’s World Cup squad while Mann is an outside chance to feature in Newcastle’s final game of the season against Cronulla on September 4.

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