BORN-and-bred Novocastrian Chad Redman never wanted to leave the Knights, but his first taste of the NRL last month made him hungry for more.
That is why the 22-year-old Shortland product could not say no when the Gold Coast Titans, desperate for a dummy-half after losing Kierran Moseley to a knee injury on Sunday, sent his manager, Andrew Woolnough, an SOS the next day.
The former Australian Schoolboys hooker sought and was granted an immediate release from the final year of his Knights contract and has signed with the Titans for the rest of the season.
Redman, who fulfilled a childhood dream when he scored the winning try in Newcastle’s 22-12 victory over the Tigers at Hunter Stadium last month, will fly to Coolangatta on Wednesday.
He will meet his new teammates and learn as much as he can in one or two training sessions before playing against the Warriors at Robina on Saturday, though he was not named in the Titans team on Tuesday night.
‘‘I was driving to training yesterday thinking I’d be playing NSW Cup this weekend, then Woolly rang me to tell me there was an opportunity for me to go up to the Gold Coast for the rest of the year,’’ Redman told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday.
‘‘They guaranteed me a chance to play some NRL footy, and that’s exactly what I want to do.
‘‘I spoke to a few people whose opinions I respect, Clint Newton and my old coach Garth Brennan, and they told me to chase it and run with it, so that’s what I did.’’
Redman was behind Adam Clydsdale, Tyler Randell and National Youth Cup captain Danny Levi in the hooking pecking order at the Knights, and the Titans’ cupboard is bare after Moseley joined Beau Falloon (wrist) and Matt Srama (ankle) on their long-term injury list.
‘‘There’s a bit of a line-up here at Newcastle, and I knew that, and there’s no hard feelings at all from the club’s point of view or me towards the club,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s just footy. But this is just too good an opportunity to pass up – to go and play NRL straight away.
‘‘I got those games a couple of weeks ago and took confidence from that, knowing I can play in the NRL now, and I just needed another opportunity and this arose, so I’m stoked with that.’’
Because the call from the Titans was a bolt from the blue, Redman will fly solo on Wednesday.
His fiancée, Shelly, and their children, Cohen and Harlow, will join him on the Gold Coast next month.
The Knights made Redman an offer late last week for a new one-year deal but, after playing two NRL games last month, he was no longer satisfied playing in the second tier.
‘‘I lived out every Newcastle kid’s dream the other week, so it’s a bit of a surreal feeling now, knowing I’m actually a Gold Coast Titan now,’’ he said.
‘‘You just want to stay in Newcastle all your life, but that sometimes doesn’t work out in footy and I’m OK with that. I just want to put all my energy into getting up there now and hit the ground running on Saturday.
‘‘There’s nothing guaranteed beyond this year so it’s all about having a stab at the back end of this year. Newcastle made me a verbal offer to stay next year but I wanted a shot at the NRL.
‘‘I didn’t want to keep playing NSW Cup and be one of those blokes that said they could have done this and that, so I just wanted to test myself in the NRL again.’’
Knights director of football Michael Hagan said the club did not want to impede a player trying to further his career.
‘‘Chad has been an exceptional and popular team member and he leaves with our very best wishes,’’ Hagan said.
Redman is friends with former Knights teammate Joey Leilua, who was released from the remaining 18 months of his contract on Monday after making it clear he no longer wanted to play for Newcastle.
But the determined Wests Rosellas junior, voted Players’ Player of the Year by his NSW Cup teammates last season, has a different attitude towards representing his home town.
‘‘I’m personally pretty close with BJ, and he’s his own person. He’s a great bloke and people portray him in different ways, but mine is a totally different scenario,’’ Redman said.
‘‘BJ wasn’t happy here so he made a decision for himself and his family, and I’m doing the same thing, but I’m leaving on good terms.
‘‘The Knights gave me their blessing and I’ll always love the club.
‘‘Newcastle will always be home to me, but this was too big an opportunity to knock back.
‘‘I’d be kicking myself if I did knock it back then didn’t get another shot at Newcastle for the rest of the year with the line-up that they’ve got here and where I fit in that.’’