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Chris Heighington played his 300th NRL game on Saturday.

Veteran Sharks forward Chris Heighinton has joined the Newcastle Knights after announcing his departure from Cronulla.

The 35-year-old has signed a one-year contract with Newcastle after bringing up his 300th NRL match against the Knights in Round 5 this year.

"I grew up on the Central Coast and always liked the Knights and I remember watching the 1997 and 2001 grand finals, so it just made sense," said Heighington.

"There are some great young kids coming through the system and hopefully I can help out just as much off the field to see them grow as players."

Knights football manager Darren Mooney said Heighington's experience would be a boost to the young Newcastle squad.

"Chris's professionalism and his knowledge of the game will be a great asset to the Knights," Mooney said. 

"He will be able to provide strong leadership to our young players and will be able to assist in their development both on and off the field."

Heighington is Newcastle's latest signing after the club recruited Warriors veteran Jacob Lillyman, Melbourne's Slade Griffin, Brisbane duo Herman Ese'ese and Tautau Moga, Sydney Roosters pair Aidan Guerra and Connor Watson and North Queensland youngster Kalyn Ponga.

Earlier Heighington announced his departure from Cronulla via Instagram.

"My journey at the Cronulla Sharks has come to an end – what a wild five years!" he wrote.

"I didn't get the opportunity to thank all the fans, community, players and staff for all their support. 

"I have met some amazing people with lifetime friendships, you know who you are.

"It's now time for my next journey – stay posted #notretiring."

Cronulla announced the re-signings of Paul Gallen and fellow veteran Luke Lewis in July, and have signed Wests Tigers prop Ava Seumanufagai next season. 

Gallen was one of the first to thank Heighington for his services, along with best mate and former Shark Beau Ryan.


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