Clifford set for Knights NRL move in 2022

Jake Clifford will remain in Townsville next season before linking with Newcastle on a two-year NRL deal from 2022.

JAKE CLIFFORD of the Cowboys is tackled during the round 20 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia
JAKE CLIFFORD of the Cowboys is tackled during the round 20 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Promising North Queensland talent Jake Clifford will remain in Townsville next NRL season before leaving for Newcastle on a two-year deal.

The long-touted deal was confirmed on Tuesday, although the Knights were unable to secure an immediate release and will have to wait until 2022 for Clifford's services.

The classy five-eighth excelled in Queensland's junior teams but has struggled to bed down a regular NRL berth in a 35-game career with the Cowboys stretching back to his 2018 debut.

After a season under new Cowboys coach Todd Payten, the Knights hope he'll click alongside veteran halfback Mitchell Pearce and electric fullback Kalyn Ponga.

"When the opportunity arose to sign Jake, I thought it was a perfect fit for both parties," Newcastle recruitment boss Clint Zammit said.

"We believe he will grow alongside the likes of Mitchell Pearce, both as a player and as a person.

"He's a good young talent from a good family and will be a great addition to both our playing group and the Knights for a long time."