Chad Townsend has told Sharks teammates he is leaving at the end of the season to join North Queensland.
The Cronulla halfback has agreed to a three-year deal with the Cowboys, worth a reported $2 million.
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Townsend had the option of activating a clause in his contract to remain in the Shire next year, but opted against it and will instead line up in the halves for Todd Payten’s team in 2022.
Former coach John Morris was recently sacked in messy circumstances and he isn’t the only one heading for the door as Townsend, one of the few surviving members from Cronulla’s 2016 premiership-winning team, jumps ship.
Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta was full of praise for Townsend, who has racked up 141 games for Cronulla since debuting in 2011.
“Chad has been a great servant of our club, shown great character throughout his career and has assured me and everyone at the Sharks he is committed to getting the job done and making the 2021 season a successful one,” Mezzatesta said, per the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He has put family first with his decision to take up this opportunity, which we fully appreciate and understand, and we wish him well with his future both as an NRL player and beyond.”
Townsend won’t be wearing light blue for much longer.Source:AAP
Townsend’s departure will free up salary cap space for the Sharks to entice its other playmakers — including Kiwi Shaun Johnson and the versatile Matt Moylan — to stay.
Cowboys coach Payten is happy to have secured Townsend’s services, as the club is in desperate need of a quality half, especially after Michael Morgan’s shock retirement earlier this year because of injury.
“We have made no secret of our intentions to secure a senior half after we lost our captain Michael Morgan to retirement,” Payten said.
“We were looking for a composed, organising halfback who can steer the team around the park and I believe we have found that in Chad.
“He is a gifted kicker of the football, tackles well and is a strong voice on the field, which were three areas we highlighted when entering the market for a half.”
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