Key target poised to join Knights on two-year deal
Newcastle look set to finally nab their man in North Queensland half Jake Clifford.
The Daily Telegraph has been told Clifford has all but agreed to a two-year deal to join the Knights from 2022.
The new contract could be announced as early as Monday.
Clifford, 22, is being favoured to be Newcastle's long-term playmaker when veteran Mitchell Pearce either retires or moves on.
A future Queensland State of Origin player, Clifford was told he could seek interest from rival clubs for next season and agreed to join Newcastle - only for North Queensland to renege and demand he stay for 2021.
The Cowboys though weren't going to extend his deal, allowing Clifford to join Newcastle for 2022 and 2023.
Now that he has found a new club there remains an outside chance Clifford could be granted an early release from North Queensland for next season.
Player managers are tipping player movement in the NRL to settle now before kickstarting again the New Year.
New Cowboys coach Todd Payten admitted backflipping on Clifford for 2021 was difficult.
"The whole Jake Clifford scenario wasn't handled well by our club, and I played a small part in that," Payten told The Cairns Post.