Mark Taufua
Shirebound in 2012

The exodus of players from the Newcastle Knights to make way for incoming coach Wayne Bennett’s new recruits next season is gathering momentum with Mark Taufua the latest to sign with a rival NRL club.

Only a matter of days after Cory Paterson agreed to join North Queensland mid-season, back-rower Taufua, sidelined with a knee injury, has accepted a two-year deal with the Cronulla Sharks but won’t link with the team until the end of the season.

His manager John Frare confirmed the deal yesterday with Taufua expected to formally sign a contract when he has a look around the Sutherland Shire this week.

Like Paterson, Taufua was under contract to Newcastle for another season, but was told he wasn’t in Bennett’s plans for 2012.

“His heart is in Newcastle and obviously, he would have liked to have stayed,” Frare said.

“There was a fair bit of interest for him and there was a three-year deal on the table from another NRL club that he considered. But the contract was back-ended with the money next year just not enough.”

It’s likely Taufua will be joined at the Sharks by fellow Knight Isaac De Gois, another Bennett reject.

Read more at the Herald Sun