Kalyn Ponga says he is still a work in progress when it comes to leadership and is unsure of his future captaincy aspirations as he continues his recovery from off-season shoulder surgery.
The dynamic Knights fullback, who will miss the early rounds of the season due to his shoulder reconstruction, is part of the club's new-look five-member leadership group for 2021, describing his promotion as "an honour and a privilege and not something to take lightly".
"Leadership skills are definitely something I want to develop in my game. I think it's an area that I've got a lot of growth ahead of me," Ponga told the Newcastle Herald.
"Without being a leader last year, I felt like one so it doesn't really change the way I was going to go about learning leadership but it's definitely a privilege and a responsibility to be officially recognised in this way."
Asked about the captaincy, Ponga says he still has plenty of room for growth as a leader off the field.
"There's a lot of areas where I can improve but it's probably more off the field than on it," he said. "I think on the field, I'm pretty vocal anyway because of the position I play.
"The growth I'm talking about is probably more around what I can contribute to the team off the field.
"Do I see myself as a captain one day? Maybe... in a couple of years maybe but I'm only really worried about right now to be honest. I never look too far ahead.
"We had a really productive week in Tamworth [training camp] in terms of what we wanted to get out of it. The boys trained really hard and me personally, I'm still in rehab, training really hard and ticking my boxes so it's all looking good right now."
Another of the Knights new leaders, Jayden Brailey, says his elevation to the group in his second year at the Knights after playing just two games is "a massive privilege".
"It's huge for me and I'm really stoked about it," the 24-year-old hooker said.
"It's great to know I've left a good impression and made an impact I guess in such a short space of time. It's a pretty big deal and a massive privilege to be included in that group. I'm just really excited to be recognised by the boys and the club in that way and will continue just doing what I've been doing I guess this year."
Brailey's leadership qualities were recognised by his former club Cronulla well before he arrived in Newcastle when he was made captain of the Sharks Under 20's side.
As for captaining the Knights, he said: "I suppose it's a possibility in the future but right now, I'm just stoked to be included as one of the five in the leadership group."
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