Shaun Nona - QLD Residents V NSW Cup Reps at Tapout Energy Stadium, Coorparoo. 1.40pm Sunday May 3, 2015.    PHOTO: SMP IMAGES.COM

Nona earns NRL contract

An outstanding season with this year’s Intrust Super Championship-winning Illawarra Cutters side has earned classy five-eighth Shaun Nona an NRL contract with the Dragons for next season.

While this is great news for the Tully junior, it means his much vaunted move back home to north Queensland will no longer be happening, with the Blackhawks confirming he would not be joining the club next season.

Nona was set to move to Townsville to return and play in the Intrust Super Cup from 2017, but his deal had a release clause which would allow him to walk away if he secured a fulltime NRL position.

The departure at the end of this season of veteran playmaker Benji Marshall from the Wollongong club created an opportunity in the halves at the Dragons.

Blackhawks operations manager Adrian Thomson told the Cairns Post the club were happy for the 26-year-old to follow his NRL dream.

“We’ve love to have had him in a Blackhawks jersey, but we wish him all the best," Thomson said.

“We’re very happy that he’s earnt a fulltime NRL contract. That’s what we’re all about and he’s following that dream.”

Nona, who starred for the Cutters in their recent win over the Burleigh Bears on NRL grand final day, has had a history of success and would have been a key addition to the Townsville side who are losing more experience to NRL clubs next season.

Forwards Rhyse Martin and Corey Jensen are off to the Bulldogs and NQ Cowboys respectively, while Jahrome Hughes is joining the Storm.

Stay tuned to QRL.com.au in coming weeks for more player transfers news.

*This story drew from content first published on The Cairns Post

*Read more about the signing at the St George Illawarra Dragons website.