BREAKING NEWS: Kalyn Ponga WINS the Dally M medal as Newcastle Knights star beats Shaun Johnson to top prize after stunning season and proves his mother wrong after pre-ceremony prediction

Kalyn Ponga has won the Dally M award after the Newcastle Knights star beat Shaun Johnson to top prize after a stunning season.

Ponga pipped New Zealand Warriors star Johnson to footy’s most prestigious individual award with six points in the final round of the season, taking his tally to 56.

The Knights star was at the heart of his side’s stellar run at the end of the season, in which he took Newcastle to the finals.

Ahead of the ceremony, his mother Adine was not too optimistic about her son’s chances, as he was an outside shot of winning, but he went onto triumph at the Sydney bash. 

Reflecting on the 2023 season, Ponga said: ‘It was pretty special. It’s something that we want to replicate next year. 

‘I’ve been at the club for five years now and it is something I have never experienced before. It is something that the town wants and needs. As a playing group, we know that and we want to do it again. 

‘Definitely proud. Proud of the team, Proud of what the team achieved at the back end. We want to go further, we are definitely happy.’

The interviewer asked Adine before the ceremony: ‘Do you think he’s a chance of winning tonight? Hopeful?’

‘Ooo,’ she replied before looking at her son, shaking his head. ‘No. I’ll be proud no matter what.’ 

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