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NRLW: Knights suffer major blow as Johnston joins Sharks

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The Newcastle Knights have suffered a major blow ahead of the upcoming NRLW season, losing homegrown representative prop Caitlan Johnston.

While the blockbusting front-rower will stay with her Hunter teammates in 2024, she’ll head to the Shire next year.

Cronulla announced the Windale junior’s signing this week.

A two-time premiership-winner, Johnston was Newcastle’s first-ever recruit for the National Rugby League Women’s competition.

But, she’s joining the Sharks on a three-season deal from 2025.

“This is a significant coup for our club given Caitlan has firmly established herself as one of the premier forwards in the NRLW and a terrific leader,” Cronulla coach Tony Herman said.

“She’s already scaled the heights of the game.

“However, at 23, her best years are still ahead of her.

“We look forward to Caitlan coming on board in 2025 and sharing her experience.”

After making her NRLW debut for the Sydney Roosters in 2019, Johnston – a fan favourite – returned home for the Knights’ inaugural season.

She then played a major role in leading Newcastle to back-to-back titles in 2022 and 2023 under the guidance of Ron Griffiths.

The Knights even received the Key to the City by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes following their dual grand final victories at the expense of the Parramatta Eels and Gold Coast Titans respectively.

Johnston has also gone on to win a World Cup title with the Australian Jillaroos, donned the NSW Sky Blues jumper in State of Origin and captained the Indigenous All Stars side.

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