Hull FC reportedly find Jake Clifford replacement in shape of Manly Sea Eagles half-back

Josh McAllister
Cooper Johns in action for Manly Sea Eagles

Cooper Johns in action during NRL Round 10 for Manly Sea Eagles against Brisbane Broncos. Photo by AAP Image/Jono Searle.

Hull FC are set to secure their Jake Clifford replacement for 2024 in the shape of Manly Sea Eagles half-back Cooper Johns.

That’s according to renowned Australian journalist ‘The Mole’ who has reported that the former Melbourne Storm youngster is set to leave the NRL to continue his career in England.

Manly’s tight salary cap looks likely to push 24-year-old Johns out of the club after just one season, featuring eight times in 2023.

League Express had previously reported that Johns, son of rugby league great Matthew and nephew to fellow legend Andrew, had been offered to Super League clubs for next year with the MKM Stadium looking the likely destination.

Clifford, 25, will return Down Under after just one season in Super League with Hull after agreeing a 12-month contract to return to former club North Queensland Cowboys, where he made his debut back in 2018.

The former Newcastle Knights man featured 26 times under Tony Smith, scoring five tries and kicking 54 goals.

More on Cooper Johns

The playmaker made his professional debut in 2020 for Melbourne Storm against Parramatta Eels, going on to feature 11 times under Craig Bellamy before joining Manly for 2023 on an initial train and trial contract.

Johns played his junior career with the Narraweena Hawks in the Manly District Junior Rugby League before graduating through the Sea Eagles’ Harold Matthews and SG Ball Cup teams.

The New South Wales-born player was called up to Italy’s World Cup squad ahead of the delayed 2021 tournament in England, but later pulled out. His brother Jack represented their heritage at the 2017 campaign Down Under.

He has also featured 11 times in the New South Wales Cup in 2023.

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