BEAU Henry will join the Gold Coast Titans on Monday after the Knights five-eighth last night became the latest casualty in Newcastle’s pre-Wayne Bennett cleanout.
When contacted last night, Henry’s manager Gavin Orr said the promising playmaker had signed a three-year deal with the Titans ‘‘an hour ago’’ and would join the club next week.
The 21-year-old came to the Knights this season on a three-year deal from premiers St George Illawarra, where he was the 2009 National Youth Competition player of the year but was unable to break into the NRL under Bennett last season.
With Bennett taking over at Newcastle from 2012, speculation was rife that the Warilla Gorillas junior would move on. He last night joined Cory Paterson and Mark Taufua as contracted Knights to find new clubs after being told by Newcastle to explore other options. Paterson has moved to the Cowboys and Taufua will join Cronulla next year.
Orr indicated the move was bittersweet for Henry.
‘‘He’s very happy with the deal but obviously disappointed he wasn’t able to stay at Newcastle with the whole Wayne Bennett situation throwing a spanner in the works,’’ Orr said.
‘‘But Beau’s a professional and he knows sometimes you have to move on and he’s looking forward to playing first grade at the Titans.’’
Orr said the Titans deal was on similar terms to one Henry had with the Knights and would run for the rest of this season and three more.
The news on Henry came a day after the Knights announced the signing of Dragons, Queensland and Australian star Darius Boyd, which is believed to be a major factor in Henry’s move.
With Boyd at Newcastle next year, Kurt Gidley is expected to move into the halves to partner Jarrod Mullen – leaving Henry on the outer.
There was also a reported falling out between Bennett and Henry last year.
Prop Antonio Kaufusi is another contracted Knight who has been told to look elsewhere and hooker Isaac De Gois has been linked with a move back to Cronulla.
Henry had been one of the Knights’ major off-season recruits. Having shuffled through an array of halves since the 2007 retirement of Andrew Johns, the Knights saw Henry as a potential long-term heir to Johns.
He made his NRL debut with Newcastle in round one this year against Penrith and put in eye-catching performances before an ankle injury against Manly in round three stalled his season.
He had eight weeks out and returned in the 12-10 loss to the Roosters.