Cronulla halfback Chad Townsend has joined the North Queensland in a deal that will begin in 2022.

It is understood that Townsend informed his teammates of the decision on Wednesday prior to an official announcement by the Cowboys.

Townsend held an option in his favour to sign on with the Sharks for next year, but will now sign a deal worth a reported $2 million across three seasons.

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“Chad is a premiership winner on the field and proven professional off it,” Cowboys Head of Football Michael Luck told the club website.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Chad Townsend of the Sharks celebrates scoring a try during the round 24 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights at Southern Cross Group Stadium on August 26, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“The level of professionalism he brings off the field is what we were most impressed with when doing our research on Chad and we look forward to him mentoring our young playing group upon his arrival in 2022.”

The Cowboys have been previously linked to halfbacks Adam Reynolds and Tom Dearden as they look to take action on the money leftover by the departed Josh McGuire and Michael Morgan.

Reynolds has also been linked to Cronulla, with Townsend's potential departure possibly opening up a move to the Sharks for the Bunnies captain.