Former NSW State of Origin halfback Trent Hodkinson is set to sign with the Cronulla Sharks early this week after being granted a release from the Newcastle Knights.
The 29-year-old halfback will meet Sharks officials on Monday and NRL.com understands he could sign a contract with Cronulla as early as Monday to begin training with his new teammates on Tuesday.
He will touch base with Sharks coach Shane Flanagan along with other officials as he prepares to make the move from the Hunter after two seasons with the Newcastle Knights.
But the Sharks stressed on Sunday that no deal had been done and a senior official said such talk was “pure speculation”.
The Manly Sea Eagles have also been interested in Hodkinson’s services after they, along with the Sharks, missed out on the signature of disgruntled Sydney Roosters playmaker Mitchell Pearce following his former club’s acquisition of Cooper Cronk.
Pearce agreeing to terms with the Knights has had the domino effect of not only Hodkinson looking elsewhere with young Knights half Jack Cogger announcing last week he would be leaving for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on a two-year deal at the end of the 2018 season.
Newcastle released a statement on Sunday night to announce Hodkinson’s departure.
“Trent has been an excellent role model for our young players,” football manager Darren Mooney said.
“He is a well-respected teammate and contributed immensely to our community program.
“We understand Trent’s decision to leave the club and we wish him and wife Chantelle all the best for the future.”