CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 17: Jake Clifford of the Cowboys scores a try during the NRL trial match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Wests Tigers at Barlow Park on February 17, 2018 in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

After being told he was free to join another club, North Queensland’s Jake Clifford looks set to stay at the Cowboys in 2021 after a move for Benji Marshall appears to have collapsed, reports Fox Sports. 

Marshall is looking for a $400,000 contract for one-year from the Cowboys, but the club are only able to pay around $150,000 out of their salary cap, causing the deal to hit an impasse.

Despite wanting to link up with his former Tiger teammate, the big financial demands of Marshall has prompted incoming coach Todd Payten to change his stance on the Clifford situation and wants him to remain at the club next year for the final year of his contract.

This could be a blow for the Newcastle Knights, who were set to sign Clifford on a three-year deal to join forces with Mitchell Pearce.

Despite the potential for a fresh start at Newcastle, the unlikeliness of Benji Marshall to the Cowboys has put a dampen on the Knights’ plans to bring the 22-year old Clifford to the club.

Clifford debuted in 2018 and has played 35 games over the course of his career to date.