Sharks premiership star’s shock Cowboys defection
Halfback Chad Townsend is poised to shock Cronulla by signing a two or three-year deal with North Queensland in a move which would end any chance of South Sydney's Adam Reynolds heading to Townsville.
Townsend has decided against activating a contract clause in his favour for next season.
North Queensland will sign Townsend with the money saved through the medical retirement of Michael Morgan.
Watch The 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership Live & On-Demand with No Ad-Breaks During Play. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
The Daily Telegraph has been told North Queensland want to partner Townsend and Brisbane's Tom Dearden in their halves from next season.
Cowboys' officials had contacted Reynolds' manager, Steve Gillis, to express a preliminary interest in the Rabbitohs halfback.
No offer had been lodged but the Cowboys were keen to discuss whether Reynolds would entertain a shift to far north Queensland should he quit Redfern after this season.
North Queensland has now changed their plans.
There is continuing speculation Brisbane may have a nibble at signing Reynolds.
The Broncos continue to struggle with their halves this season and have held internal discussions about Reynolds.
Aged 30, Townsend is a Cronulla junior who helped steer the club to its historic and inaugural NRL premiership win in 2016.
Well-placed sources indicate Townsend's expected move north may be formally announced on Wednesday.
Townsend is also expected to have a meeting with in-coming Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon this week.
Townsend has told friends the offer from North Queensland would give him long-term financial security.
The Cowboys will lose Jake Clifford to Newcastle at the end of the season after the local junior opted for a move to the Knights.
Scott Drinkwater, who has shuffled between the halves and fullback roles this season, Is also off contract at the end of this season.
Play could be a flurry of transfer activity involving halves, with Luke Brooks' future at the West Tigers uncertain - despite having two years remaining on his deal - given they are set to sign Jackson Hastings.
There are a number of off-contract halves, including Parramatta's Mitchell Moses, the Gold Coast's Ashley Taylor, St George Illawarra's Corey Norman and Canterbury's Lachlan Lewis.
Originally published as Sharks premiership star's shock Cowboys defection