1 Dec 2017

Knights sign Mitchell Pearce

7:40 am on 1 December 2017

NRL strugglers Newcastle have achieved a milestone moment in their rebuild after signing NSW State of Origin halfback Mitchell Pearce to a rich four-year deal.

The Roosters captain Mitchell Pearce playing for NSW State of Origin side. 2015.

The Roosters captain Mitchell Pearce playing for NSW State of Origin side. 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Following his departure from the Sydney Roosters, Pearce rejected offers from Cronulla and Manly in favour of moving up the M1 on a deal worth a reported $4 million.

The Knights reportedly had $1.6 million to spend in their salary cap after three disastrous seasons in which they finished last and it's believed the Sea Eagles and Sharks were unable to match their offer.

"I see a group of guys working hard and on the way up and I want to be part of making this team strong again for the town," Pearce said.

"I am passionate about helping and leading the young players at the club.

"From the moment I spoke to Nathan (Brown) and (football manager) Darren (Mooney) about where the club is heading, I knew this is where I wanted to be.

Pearce will begin pre-season training with the Knights on Monday.

The 28-year-old sought a release from the Roosters following the arrival of Cooper Cronk from Melbourne and will join fellow former Tricolours Aidan Guerra, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Connor Watson at the Knights.

Meanwhile Jarryd Hayne's sporting career appears set to come full circle back at Parramatta after he was granted an immediate release from the Gold Coast.

Titans boss Graham Annesley confirmed the cross-code star had requested a release from the final year of his NRL contract.

Hayne had been heavily linked with a return to Sydney for a number of weeks to be near his NSW-based daughter and his former club.

The 29-year-old's departure comes just six months after he activated an extension clause with the Titans for 2018, which caused a flurry of speculation about an Eels return.

It also brings to an end a dramatic 15-month stay at the Titans, which included a well-publicised feud with Neil Henry that resulted in the coach being sacked midway through last season.

Hayne made his NRL debut with the Eels in 2006 and left in 2014 to pursue an NFL career.