The Newcastle Knights have released halfback and former under-20s Player of the Year Jake Clifford from the final year of his current contract, with the 24-year-old playmaker set to join Super League side Hull FC.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Clifford has signed a two-year deal at the club, but the contract has an option that allows him to return to Australia at any point if an opportunity arises. He'll join fellow former Knight Tex Hoy at the club.

The announcement caps off an interesting 24-hours for the Steel City team, who are now free to escalate their pursuit of Wests Tigers half Luke Brooks.

The club had been pursuing Manly Sea Eagles star Rueben Garrick and chasing an early release, with the hope that the fullback role would prove an attractive prospect. That would free up Kalyn Ponga to return to the halves, where he hasn't played regularly since 2019.

But by the end of the day, the Sea Eagles had not only confirmed that they wouldn't be releasing Garrick, they'd given him a massive contract extension offer to deter the interests of rivals.

Clifford's deal with the club was worth approximately $400,000 for next season, so his departure gives the Knights more wiggle room in the salary cap as they continue to pursue Brooks.

The Knights have retained the services of Adam Clune and Tyson Gamble, who recently joined the club from Brisbane, to provide competition for the halves – but it's understood Ponga is already a certainty.

Clifford played 67 NRL games after making his debut for the North Queensland Cowboys in 2018.