Chad Townsend has requested and been granted a release from the remainder of his 2021 contract, effectively immediately, with the Sharks halfback to take up an opportunity with another NRL club.
A member of the Premiership winning team of 2016, Townsend has played 187 top grade games, 146 for the Sharks, during an NRL career which began in 2011.
Earlier this season Townsend made a decision not to take up a contract option at Cronulla, accepting an offer to join the North Queensland Cowboys on a three-year deal, starting in 2022.
Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta thanked Townsend for his service to the Cronulla club, wishing him continued success in his future endeavours, both for the remainder of 2021 and into the future.
“Chad has been a great servant and an outstanding ambassador for this club, highlighted by his efforts in helping us claim the 2016 premiership. He will always be remembered and recognised by our members and fans for his contribution to the success we have enjoyed here at the Sharks,” Mezzatesta acknowledged. “It’s probably fitting that our last memory of Chad in a Sharks jersey will be him kicking that match-winning field goal in our victory over the Dragons back in round 11.
“He has an exciting opportunity at the Cowboys and we wish him well in Townsville next year and also for whatever the rest of this season might bring,” he added.
For Townsend, he leaves the Sharks for the next chapter of his career with special memories of his time in Cronulla colours.
“The nine seasons I’ve spent here at the Sharks has been an incredible journey for myself and my family. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sharks members and fans for their support over that period,” Townsend said.
“I leave this club with a lot of wonderful memories, with the club's maiden 2016 premiership something I will never forget.”
Townsend’s departure will see the Sharks likely to continue with the halves partnership of Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan, the pair combining to deliver three victories in succession, with the recently re-signed Braydon Trindall, utility Connor Tracey and exciting young prospect Luke Metcalf waiting in the wings should the opportunity present.