Trent Hodkinson is set to join the Cronulla Sharks for training this week, having finally come to terms with the club.
The halfback departs Newcastle after a tumultuous stint with the Knights, having fallen from a State of Origin half to a reserve grade regular in the space of eighteen months.
Following the signings of Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson along with the rise of young stars Brock Lamb and Jack Cogger, Hodkinson has fallen drastically down Newcastle’s pecking order.
The move creates an interesting conundrum for Sharks coach Shane Flanagan, possibly creating a massive domino effect for Cronulla’s backline.
If Hodkinson were to step straight into first-grade, the move would push Chad Townsend to five-eighth, Matt Moylan to fullback, Valentine Holmes to the wing and Aaron Gray to reserve grade.
It’s certainly a blow for Flanagan’s son Kyle, a young half pushing for an NRL following a stellar year for the club’s Holden Cup team.
The Knights will still pay a margin of the former rep halfback’s salary, but reports suggest Newcastle have already paid him half of his 2018 salary, shifting the payments into their 2017 salary cap, having been so far under the limit.
Hodkinson’s departure is also a blow to Manly, who were banking on him returning to the club he started his career with.
Unfortunately for the Sea Eagles, the salary cap investigation into the club hangs a nasty black cloud over the side, a sense of lacking stability certain to turn away potential recruits.
Hodkinson is expected to feature in at least one trial for Cronulla before beginning his career at the Shire, while Newcastle will begin the Mitchell Pearce era with a closed off trial against Melbourne next weekend.