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Cowboys playmaker Jake Clifford.

Cowboys halfback Jake Clifford has made an immediate switch to the Newcastle Knights as North Queensland confirmed the signing of Brisbane half Tom Dearden.

Clifford, who had already signed a two-year deal with Newcastle to start next season, will now be available for selection for the Knights in their round 13 match against Parramatta.

Likewise, 20-year-old Dearden had signed a three-year contract with the Cowboys starting in 2022 but has now made a mid-season move and will be available to face Manly in round 14 after next week's bye.

After playing a key role in Friday night's thrilling 29-28 win over the Warriors, Clifford joins a Knights team in need of a boost with halfback Mitchell Pearce injured and veteran Blake Green having announced his retirement this week.

"We would like to sincerely thank Jake for his contribution to our club, not just at NRL level, but throughout the grades," Cowboys head of football Micheal Luck said.

"Cliffo came from the Tully Tigers, through the Northern Pride pathway system and graduated into our NRL side at the Cowboys. Everything he's done at our club, he's done it with a great attitude, particularly in a tough year for him in 2021.

"We wish him nothing but the best in the next stage of his football career."

Dearden meanwhile is one of two halves to bolster the Cowboys' playmaking stocks, with veteran Sharks halfback Chad Townsend also on the way to Townsville at the end of the year.

"The prospect of adding someone with Tom's talent and enthusiasm to our team mid-season is exciting for our club," Luck said.

"We believe he will be a tremendous asset for the North Queensland Cowboys for the remainder of 2021 and beyond."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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