Canberra have shelled out big money to snatch highly-rated young backrower Joseph Tapine from under Newcastle’s nose.
The Raiders have reportedly signed the 21-year-old to a three-year $1.5 million NRL deal after Newcastle failed to match their mammoth bid.
Tapine, who has made 20 appearances for the Knights since debuting in 2014, is highly thought of by Newcastle officials and his teammates but the club’s offer of $1 million fell well short.
Tapine is off-contract with the Knights at the end of 2016 and chief executive Matt Gidley said the club did not intend to grant him an early release.
“We are obviously extremely disappointed because while he is not a local junior, we brought him here and helped develop him,” Gidley told News Corp Australia.
“But it’s hard to get your head around the Canberra offer and all I said to Joe was to wish him all the best.
“It’s difficult to blame him for accepting that sort of an offer.”