Former North Queensland Cowboys Rookie of the Year Jake Clifford has officially signed a one-year contract with his former NRL club after a one-season stint in the Super League with Hull FC.

The confirmation by the Cowboys on Wednesday evening comes three weeks after Hull FC coach Tony Smith confirmed that he would be leaving the Super League at the end of the season to take up an opportunity in the NRL.

Clifford joined Hull FC in the Super League this season, following four years at the North Queensland Cowboys and a further two at the Newcastle Knights- appearing in 67 NRL games.

The playmaker will join the Cowboys in 2024, putting pressure on veteran Chad Townsend for the halfback jersey to play alongside Tom Dearden and is coming off a superb season in England which has seen him score 112 points in 19 games.

His signing to his former club means that the Wests Tigers missed out on the opportunity to secure his services after they were also linked to signing him for next season.

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 04: Jake Clifford of the Knights passes the ball during the round 25 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights at Suncorp Stadium, on September 04, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

“With Ben Hampton leaving our squad in 2024 we were searching for a half with NRL experience who could back-up Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden as well as help to mentor Tom Duffy,” Cowboys General Manager of Football Micheal Luck said.

“It came to our attention Jake potentially had an interest in coming back to the NRL. We had some discussions with Jake and his agent and we were thrilled to be able to come to terms in quick time.

“He was playing some of the best football of his career under Todd before he left in 2021 and we're excited about what he can bring to our squad in terms of experience and competition for spots.

“We also know he is a great cultural fit and it's always a bonus to be able to bring a North Queensland boy home.”