Chad Townsend appears set to join North Queensland as the NRL club seek to replace the retired Michael Morgan and Newcastle-bound Jake Clifford.
News Corp has reported that the 30-year-old Townsend has verbally agreed to a three-year, $2 million deal with the Cowboys as they look to rebuild their squad after missing out on the finals for the past three years and struggling again in 2021.
A premiership winner with Cronulla in 2016, Townsend is set to hold talks on Tuesday with incoming Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon, who will need to pitch a compelling argument to retain the services of the No.7 after the Cowboys' lucrative offer.
North Queensland are prepared to open their cheque book with Morgan forced into a medically induced retirement earlier this month, while 23-year-old five-eighth Clifford has signed a deal to join the Knights at season's end.
Fellow half Scott Drinkwater is off contract at the end of this year with the Cowboys being linked with a swoop for 20-year-old Tom Dearden from Brisbane.
The Cowboys intend to sign Townsend using the money saved through the medical retirement of Morgan, who will receive a reported $2.5 million contract payout from the remainder of his five-year deal with the club.
Australian Associated Press