Newcastle has won the race for the signature of Connor Watson after granting the Roosters utility his wish of playing in the halves.
Watson has agreed to a three-year deal with the Knights, knocking back the opportunity to replace James Tedesco at fullback for Wests Tigers. The joint-venture club defeated the Newcastle a fortnight ago in what was dubbed as “the battle for the wooden spoon”, but the Novocastrians have their revenge in Watson's signature.
Watson is contracted to the Roosters until the end of next season and officials were keen to keep him on the books. However, the 21 year old - capable of playing hooker and any position in the backline - is keen to start games after making the majority of his 29 NRL appearances off the interchange bench.
Given the financial and playing opportunities elsewhere, tri-colours officials decided not to stand in his way and granted him a release.
Watson cemented his reputation as a player of great promise after leading the Roosters to this year's Auckland Nines title, earning man of the tournament honours in the process.
The Tigers and Knights weighed in with lucrative multi-year deals and Watson has been agonising over which to take in recent weeks. He will now join a list of Knights recruits that include fellow Roosters Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Aidan Guerra and Cowboys young gun Kalyn Ponga.
There are likely to be further additions to Newcastle's 2018 roster with Tautau Moga and Herman Ese'ese tipped to join him in the Hunter.