Joseph Tapine will join Canberra on a four-year NRL deal, worth a reported $2 million, after being released by Newcastle.
Tapine enjoyed a farewell lunch with the Knights on Tuesday and will travel to the nation’s capital on Wednesday to commit to the Raiders on the lucrative long-term deal.
The 21-year-old former Junior Kiwi had been the subject of an ugly tug of war between the two sides.
Tapine’s manager Jim Banaghan said his charge had endured a tough time over the last fortnight and was relieved to have the matter concluded.
“It’s great to see that common sense has prevailed,” Banaghan told AAP.
“I will be travelling with him to Canberra tomorrow to finalise the deal.
“Newcastle have conceded that there is no other way. They have exhausted all their options in order to get the best result for them. Unfortunately this came too late in the off season to be of any benefit to the club. As a result this has been frustrating and annoying for all parties involved.”
Tapine’s contract will likely have a one-year option in his favour.
Newcastle could not come close to the money Canberra put on the table. The Knights reportedly offered the back-rower $1.1 million over three seasons.
The messy issue has dominated headlines in the NRL in the lead up to the season start next week.
Tapine has played just 20 NRL games, mostly from the bench.
But he is considered a player with a big future, hence the tussle between Newcastle and Canberra for his services.
“People can’t expect too much from him too soon,” Banaghan said.
“He is a young player with great potential, that’s why Newcastle and Canberra fought so hard for him. But you need to remember he is young for a forward and he is relatively inexperienced in the NRL so far.”
Tapine could make his Raiders debut in their first round match against Penrith in Canberra on Saturday March 5.