#day #newcastle : Digital Image by Robb Cox ©nrlphotos.com:  :NRL Rugby League - Newcastle Knights V Warriors at Hunter Stadium, Saturday March 7th 2015.

Former Sharks junior star Chad Townsend has secured a release from the final year of his contract with the New Zealand Warriors and will return to the Cronulla Club in 2016 on a new two-year contract.

From the local Yarrawarrah Tigers Club, Townsend played through the Sharks junior representative system before debuting in the NRL during the 2011 season.

Townsend left for New Zealand at the end of 2013 and now returns to the Sharks having established himself as a regular member of the Warriors NRL side. 

Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan is happy to announce the signing and was pleased to welcome Townsend back to the Sutherland Shire from next season.

“It will be good to have Chad back on deck next year,” he said.

“He left looking for greater opportunity and has matured over the past two seasons. He has been in career best form this year.

“It is also great to have one of our local juniors returning to the Club and we certainly look forward to having him back.”

A former Junior Kangaroos Captain in 2011, Townsend debuted in the NRL at the Sharks while still NYC eligible and would go on to play 19 First Grade games before departing for the Warriors.  He also captained the Sharks NSW Cup side to a premiership victory in 2013.

Since joining the Warriors Townsend has played 34 NRL games for the Club, including all 15 matches to date during the 2015 season.

The 24-year-old Townsend will join the Sharks for pre-season training prior to the start of the 2016 season.

Shane Flanagan spoke about the Townsend signing, his potential halves partnership with James Maloney and the role he envisages Jack Bird will play next year, with his interview now playing on Sharks TV.