Jake Clifford: NRL return confirmed for Hull FC star with length of deal revealed

Drew Darbyshire
Jake Clifford, NRL logo

Jake Clifford will return to the NRL this year - Alamy

North Queensland Cowboys have confirmed the signing of Hull FC star Jake Clifford on a one-year deal from 2024.

The 25-year-old has spent this season in Super League with Hull FC, scoring six tries and kicking 46 goals in 20 appearances for Tony Smith’s side.

Clifford will return to the NRL in 2024 after signing a one-year deal to return to North Queensland – the club who he made his first-grade debut for back in 2018.

The Queensland-born playmaker came through the ranks at the Cowboys, making 42 appearances for the club between 2018-21.

Clifford then moved to Newcastle Knights in 2021, playing 25 games for the club across two seasons.

The one-time Prime Minister’s XIII representative then made the move to Super League with English club Hull ahead of this season.

Clifford has impressed for Hull this year, scoring six tries in 20 games for the Black and Whites.

Cowboys delighted to welcome back Jake Clifford to North Queensland

Cowboys general manager of football Michael Luck said: “With Ben Hampton leaving our squad in 2024 we were searching for a half with NRL experience who could back-up Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden as well as help to mentor Tom Duffy.

“It came to our attention Jake potentially had an interest in coming back to the NRL.

“We had some discussions with Jake and his agent and we were thrilled to be able to come to terms in quick time.

“He was playing some of the best football of his career under Todd before he left in 2021 and we’re excited about what he can bring to our squad in terms of experience and competition for spots.

“We also know he is a great cultural fit and it’s always a bonus to be able to bring a North Queensland boy home.”

Hull FC coach hints at Clifford return one day

Hull FC head coach Tony Smith said: “Jake has been honest with us throughout and it has been a genuinely difficult decision for him, he’s really enjoying his time at the club.

“I think if it was any other club he wouldn’t be going back, but we understand the draw of being close to family and friends, especially with a young child.

“He was always going to come to a point where he was ready for a return to the NRL, which we hoped wouldn’t have been as soon, but we fully support his decision.

“It’s a sign he has been playing well for us and settled very quickly here, which is a positive reflection on our club.

“I know he is open to a return to the club in the future.”

READ NEXT: Hull FC set to lose out on NRL target, club boss confirms interest in utility: ‘I thought he was too good to be going to the UK at this time’