BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Andrew McCullough of the Broncos passes the ball during the round two NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium on March 22, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough has departed the club effective immediately to sign with the Newcastle Knights for the rest of the season.

The 30-year has made 260 NRL appearances for the Brisbane but was relegated to the bench this year.

He was Queensland’s State of Origin starting starting No. 9 just 18 months ago and gets a fresh start at Newcastle.

Knights coach Adam O’Brien said McCullough would help fill the void left by Jayden Brailey, who is out for the season with a ruptured ACL.

“We are in a position thanks to good governance from Alex McKinnon to have a top 30 spot available to secure someone of Andrew McCullough’s calibre,” O’Brien told newcastleknights.com.au.

“As one of the leaders of the Club, it’s my responsibility to be looking at recruitment and retention to have us field a competitive team each week.

“We are on foreign ground with the draw stating we have to play 18 game straight and we need to forward plan.

“We have faith in the depth of our roster but also recognise that promising talent Chris Randall is on the start of his journey having joined the team as a train and trial player late last year.

“Connor Watson is another exceptional player who can fill the role at Nine but given his versatility it’s important for the make-up of the team to keep him in his current explosive role.

Taking a holistic approach to the team, the recruitment of Andrew McCullough gives us valuable experience at the highest level.”

O’Brien said McCullough would bring valuable qualities to the side.

“Andrew is a quality defensive player with a consistent passing game and kick threat,” O’Brien said.

“He’s a senior player with maturity which will only compliment Mitchell Pearce, Kurt Mann and Kalyn Ponga in the spine.

“I am looking forward to having him join our roster ahead of the 2020 season resumption.”