Mitch Barnett to leave Newcastle Knights, sign with NZ Warriors

The Warriors have secured the signing of back rower Mitchell Barnett on a three-year deal, after he was granted an early release from the Knights.

The 27-year-old had a year left on his deal and was offered a short-term extension to stay in Newcastle, but opted for the security of a contract with the Warriors that will keep him at the club until the end of 2025.

“Barnett has a remaining year on his current contract and the Knights offered an extension into 2024. However, both parties have agreed that the decision to accept the other offer is the right decision for Mitch, his wife Clare and newborn son Nate,” a club statement read.

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“The Knights would like to wish ‘Barney’ and his family all the very best for the future, with everyone agreeing to make the remainder of 2022 a fitting farewell to a great clubman.”

It means a reunion with former coach Nathan Brown, who brought Barnett to the Hunter in the middle of the 2016 season, in a ‘trade’ for Joseph Tapine, who has remained with the Raiders ever since.

“The Warriors presented me with an opportunity to further my game,” Barnett said.

“I have personal goals of playing representative football and I am also looking forward to working with Brownie again.

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“The Warriors impressed me on and off the field which made my decision easier.”

He’s the third high-profile signing the Warriors have made for next season, joining Dylan Walker, who signed a three-year deal in March, and Marata Niukore, who was signed until the end of 2026 during the off-season.

“We couldn’t be happier to have a player of Mitch’s proven ability on board from next year,” Warriors football manager Craig Hodges said.

“He has been on our target list for some time as we look to boost our pack. He brings a level of intensity and passion which is going to be a real asset for us.”

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