Roosters star Luke Keary has urged Kalyn Ponga to ignore outside noise and listen solely to medical professionals after the Knights skipper suffered another concussion that has his immediate playing future in doubt.
Ponga was knocked out of Sunday’s game against the Wests Tigers following a head clash while he tried to make a tackle in the second minute.
The superstar five-eighth has had four concussions in the past 10 months and had his 2022 season cut short after three concussions in six weeks.
Ponga was also forced off in round 1 for an HIA after a heavy collision with Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake.
Knights coach Adam O’Brien has already ruled out his star player for this week’s game against the Dolphins, and there is no clear return date for a young man who is dealing with yet another brain injury.
Keary has suffered a number of head knocks throughout his career, with the Roosters taking a safety-first approach in the pre-season by not letting him play in the trials following a hit to the jaw at training.
He’s heard plenty of chat about his own career being one head knock away from ending prematurely, which is why he wants Ponga to steer clear of social media.
“It’s obviously not great to see,” Keary said.
“Everyone will want to have their opinion on it, but it’s probably best for him to turn the TV off, put the phone down and go and talk with the right people and not listen to anyone else.
“It’s just frustrating because you don’t want it to happen. It happens in footy, and when you get a few in a row, it gets highlighted a bit more. I know the doctors will do the right thing, whatever that is. He’ll probably just be a bit frustrated.
“It’s kind of part of the game now. It happens a fair bit and it’s honestly just unlucky if you get caught in the wrong position at the wrong time.”
Speaking at Roosters HQ on Monday morning, Keary also addressed suggestions that James Tedesco and Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii couldn’t coexist in the same team.
The pair are both off contract at the end of the 2024 season, with some people of the belief that Suaalii should be the fullback and that Tedesco, the club’s skipper, could be moved on if Suaalii feels that his path is being blocked.
Tedesco scoffed at those claims and said he was in no rush to sort out his future, adding he wants to finish his career at the Roosters, where he has won two titles.
“I haven’t really read too much into it. It’s two years away,” he said.
“I don’t think either of us want to leave the club, especially myself because I want to stay as long as I can.
“Having guys like Joseph Suaalii and Joseph Manu outside me is pretty dangerous for our team. If we can keep us together playing for many years to come then I think that’ll be beneficial to the club.
“Of course I want to finish my career here, but there’s no rush. I’ve got two years left on my career and I’m happy with where I’m at at the moment.”
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