It’s official – St George Illawarra back-rower Tyson Frizell has joined the Knights on a three-year contract from 2021.
The deal is believed to be worth around the $2.1 million mark, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Newcastle released the following statement on the matter via the club website.
“In late January, the nib Newcastle Knights made Tyson Frizell a three-year offer starting in season 2021 which he has accepted,” the statement read.
“Due to the current uncertain circumstances for rugby league, the NRL are not registering any new or updated contracts.
“The club has and always will act in good faith in relation to contracts.
Given the uncertainty in the game at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic, Frizell had received multiple offers from both the Dragons and the Knights, but ultimately Frizell looks set to select Newcastle as his new club of choice and will join them from the start of next year.
Given that the NRL has suspended contract negotiations until further notice, players and player agents were told to not bother negotiating contracts.
Whether Frizell and the Knights’ contract was lodged before the seasons suspension remains a mystery, but it was clear that negotiations between both parties had advanced well before that stage after the Knights put forward the contract around six weeks ago that hasn’t seen a change.
Since the end of last season, rumours have been swirling around that Frizell has shown plenty of discontent with the Dragons which ultimately led to Frizell denying any rumour of an early release from the Dragons.
Frizell said that any contract he signed would be to win a premiership, and given the Dragons have gotten off to a winless start to the season, it hasn’t boded well for them in their quest to sign their star man.
“People know that I’m looking to win a premiership hopefully and play finals footy. That’s what we do it for,” Frizell said last month.
The Dragons had upped their initial offer to Frizell, giving him an option in the third year of his contract, but it looks like Frizell will still be heading to the Knights from next season to join NSW teammates David Klemmer and Mitchell Pearce.
Even with the recent Frizell move looking more and more likely, Newcastle have already re-signed back-rower Mitch Barnett to a three-year deal.
The NRL’s salary cap auditor Richard Gardham had written to players and their agents on behalf of the NRL and RLPA that any new contract signings would be unable to take place while the season was suspended.
“Until otherwise notified, contracts and contract variations for both the current and future seasons should not be executed and will not be registered by the NRL,” Gardham wrote.
Given these comments, the contracts of other stars around the league including Nick Cotric, David Fifita and Jake Friend are currently at a stand-still.
The Dragons have a number of players coming off contracts at the end of the season, including Euan Aitken, Jackson Ford, James Graham, Jacob Host, Tim Lafai, Issac Luke, Tristan Sailor and Mikaele Ravalawa. Already stood-down back-rower Jack de Belin will also be out of contract.