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)

In a feel good story for the NRL, Newcastle youngster Jake Clifford trekked from Brisbane to Townsville to attend the birth of his daughter following an exemption granted by the Queensland government.

The ex-Cowboy travelled the 1300 kilometres on Sunday and arrived just under an hour prior to the birth in Townsville to be given a very special Father's Day present.

Clifford's family still reside in Townsville after he was shifted mid-season from the Cowboys to the Knights ahead of linking up with the club next season on a new deal.

This exemption comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk faces intense scrutiny for letting the families of NRL stars into the state despite barring Queensland residents stranded in other states.

Despite this there has rightly been little uproar over Clifford's exemption, with the nature of his trip deemed suitable enough to see him depart the club's team bubble.

The 23-year-old's newborn daughter Naivy arrived at 9:55am on Sunday, with both her and mother Stephanie doing well.

Clifford will reportedly be flown to Rockhampton on a charter flight to link up with his team ahead of their elimination final showdown with Parramatta on Sunday afternoon.

The Knights will be hoping that last round's 35-22 loss to 14th placed Brisbane was a flash-in-the-pan result, with a similar performance against the Eels this week surely resulting in an early exit from September.

Newcastle had rested plenty of stars last weekend, however, have struggled on the attack all season. They hold the second-worst record in the competition.

Clifford has improved their situation though, his combination with veteran halves leader Mitchell Pearce bringing plenty of positive results so far in its short tenure.