Cowboys land Dearden in NRL halves shuffle

·2-min read

Todd Payten is confident Tom Dearden will quickly adapt to North Queensland's playing style after the halfback was granted an immediate release from Brisbane.

Dearden's move was confirmed on Saturday after the Cowboys released Jake Clifford immediately to Newcastle.

Dearden, 20, had already signed a three-year-deal to join the Cowboys from 2022 onwards, but will now join the club next week.

Clifford was visibly upset following Friday night's dramatic 29-28 victory over the Warriors, his last game at the club before joining the Knights on Monday.

The 23-year-old halfback already had a two-year-deal with the Knights from the start of next season and will now be available to play for them against Parramatta next weekend.

For the Cowboys, it opened space for Dearden to take his place.

"It's going to be a challenge (bringing a new half up to speed)," Payten said.

"We don't play too different from other teams, so it's not going to be a huge adjustment for Tommy.

"But I had some experience last year and it can happen pretty quick."

Dearden was sighted saying goodbye to his Brisbane teammates on Wednesday.

With Dearden and fellow half Chad Townsend signed for next year, Payten could only praise the dedication shown by Clifford, who has been instrumental in the Cowboys' turnaround since Ben Hampton was sidelined with a pectoral injury.

"He's (Clifford) a terrific kid," Payten said.

"He's had a lot of stuff bubbling away for months now, some innuendo and speculation and, his wife's 20 weeks pregnant, so he's got a bit on his plate.

"He wa's left out of the team after round three, he didn't kick stones, he just went about his business, he worked hard.

"That quality from him and the maturity I think is a strength and will only hold him in good stead."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting