Jake Clifford and Tom Dearden have both officially made mid-season switches to shake up the 2021 season.
Clifford moves from the Cowboys to the Knights with both teams confirming the news on Saturday morning.
The Cowboys halfback was pictured hugging teammates in what was his final goodbye after a 29-28 win over the Warriors on Friday night.
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It was followed by Cowboys coach Todd Payten accidentally letting it slip in his post-match press conference that Dearden would become a Cowboy very soon, which went hand-in-hand with the emotional scenes following the Cowboys’ win.
Clifford, who was choking back tears, was spotted getting photos with what looked to be his family in the stands. Then in the sheds he was seen shaking hands and hugging his teammates one by one.
NRL: Craig Bellamy was clearly in a jovial mood after his side’s big win over the Broncos, as he fired off a series of funny retorts at journos in the presser….
NRL: Craig Bellamy was clearly in a jovial mood after his side’s big win over the Broncos, as he fired off a series of funny retorts at journos in the presser.
Clifford was initially set to depart the Cowboys following the 2021 season but the Knights approached asking for an early release.
He will link with the Knights on Monday and be available for selection in next Sunday’s game against the Eels.
It is a big boost for Newcastle given Mitchell Pearce’s injury and Blake Green’s retirement.
North Queensland now welcome Dearden to the club and he too will arrive next week and be available for selection in Round 14 against Manly.
The Cowboys have the bye next week.
“We are thrilled the opportunity arose to accelerate Tom’s arrival in North Queensland,” Cowboys head of football Micheal Luck said.
Dearden was set to join on a three-year deal beginning in 2022.
Tigers sign Super League star
The Wests Tigers have secured the signature of England and Great Britain international Oliver Gildart for the start of the 2022 NRL season.
Gildart joins the Tigers on a two-year deal having scored 61 tries in his 129 games for the Wigan Warriors in the Super League.
The 24-year old has three Test caps to his name and was named Super League Young Player of the Year in 2017.
“Oliver is coming from a very strong and successful club in Wigan and has already played in a number of big matches throughout his career,” Tigers coach Michael Maguire said.
“We’re looking forward to him bringing his experience and talents to our squad in 2022 and watching him take the next step forward in his rugby league career in a Wests Tigers jersey.”
Broncos’ big triple boost
The Broncos have confirmed the signing of Storm centre Brenko Lee while also fending off rivals for the signatures of young guns Teui Robati and Selwyn Cobbo on new deals.
Robati starred for the Broncos in their loss to the Storm in Round 12 with Kevin Walters calling the youngster “a shining light”.
The 19-year-old forward will remain at Red Hill until the end of 2024, while Cobbo was pursued by several rivals, including the Dragons, before adding another year to his Broncos tenure taking him through to the end of 2023.
“I really like TC’s attitude, he’s all about training hard and playing hard – and I like his mentality, he’s very raw but also very physical,” Walters said.
“He’s been in the top four or five players in the Intrust Super Cup for the past month and he’s got a heap of potential that we are looking forward to developing with him.”
“Selwyn is great to watch, he moves really well and has a lot of attacking ability. Our job will be to work with him to help turn him into a complete footballer,” he said.
“He is a real talent and it’s exciting for everyone at the club that Selwyn has made the decision to stay at the Broncos to continue his footballing growth.”
“Premiership-winning and Queensland State of Origin centre Brenko Lee will join the Brisbane Broncos from 2022 onwards,” the Broncos said in a statement.
The Brisbane-born 25-year-old, with 67 NRL appearances and 24 tries to his name, becomes a Bronco on a two-year contract to the end of the 2023 season.
A graduate of Marsden State High School, Lee played for the Queensland Under 20s in 2013 before signing a contract with the Canberra Raiders and making his NRL debut in 2014.
He was selected for the Junior Kangaroos in 2015 and went on to play for the Bulldogs and Titans before joining the Storm in 2020, where he played at starting centre in their Grand Final victory.
His stellar 2020 form was rewarded with selection in the Queensland team for the State of Origin series.
NRL: Michael Ennis believes Jack de Belin is close to an NRL return and Michael Ennis believes he will be a great addition for the Dragons due to his low-tackling ability….
NRL: Michael Ennis believes Jack de Belin is close to an NRL return and Michael Ennis believes he will be a great addition for the Dragons due to his low-tackling ability.
In choosing to join the Broncos, Lee joins Kotoni Staggs, Jordan Riki, David Mead and exciting youngsters Brendan Piakura, Robati and Cobbo – as well as new signing for 2022 Adam Reynolds.
That core of long-term loyal Broncos also includes Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan, Herbie Farnworth, Tom Flegler and Ethan Bullemor.
“Brenko provides plenty of experience and comes to us after a standout 2020 season,” Broncos coach Kevin Walters said.
“He is a Brisbane boy and a true Queenslander and he will fit right in here at the Broncos.
”The fact Brenko wants to join us, along with a lot of other players, shows that we are headed in the right direction.”
Originally published asNRL halves dominoes fall after tears
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