Connor Watson agreed to link up with the Sydney Roosters on a cut-price contract from 2022, and Newcastle Knights' legend Matthew Johns has said that, while disappointing, he admired how Watson came to the decision.
Eyebrows were raised at Watson turning down more money from the Knights to take up an offer with the Sydney Roosters.
The deal, which is set to run for two seasons and will see Watson return to his old hunting ground for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, is rumoured to be worth around $300,000.
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Johns revealed on SEN Radio that he had interviewed Watson during the week and admired how he came to the decision, despite it being "disappointing" from a Newcastle perspective.
“From a Knights perspective, it’s disappointing,” Johns said.
“But, I’ll tell you something, I interviewed him last night and I’ve got that much admiration for how he made his decision.
“It started with a conversation with Trent Robinson, and he said, ‘I’ve always wanted to play in England, do you think it’s time?’.
“So Robbo said, ‘No, I don’t think it’s time, the way the game’s gone suits you and I think you’ve got a lot left here’.
“Then he said, ‘We’ve always wanted to bring you back, here’s our offer’.
“Newcastle offered him a hell of a lot more, but in his mind he said, ‘I’m going to make a football decision here’, and he’s gone to the Roosters.
“I admire that and have a lot of respect for him.
It's understood the Knights have already earmarked a target to join the club, with fringe Dragons' half Adam Clune on the radar.