After Cronulla had let the cat out of the bag hours earlier, the Warriors have confirmed Sharks winger Gerard Beale has signed a three-year deal with the NRL club from 2018.
In a statement released well after Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan let slip the news on Friday to media, the Warriors officially welcomed the 27-year-old 2016 premiership winner.
Flanagan surprisingly volunteered to reporters that the 10-time Kiwi international had told teammates at training this week that he would be leaving at season's end.
The news comes just two days before the Sharks' elimination final against North Queensland at Allianz Stadium.
"Gerard Beale spoke to the group this week. He's moving on to the Warriors for three years," Flanagan said.
"He said it's not our last game this weekend - we're not approaching it as that."
Beale had been linked to a Warriors move along with Brisbane prop Adam Blair.
He becomes the Warriors' third signing for 2018 following on from Tohu Harris (Melbourne) and Leivaha Pulu (Gold Coast).
"While there has been a lot of discussion about Gerard coming to the club, we weren't in a position to make an announcement until his contract had been officially signed by both parties," Warriors CEO Cameron George said.
"Now the formalities have been completed, we're delighted to have him included in our 2018 squad."
Beale was born in Queensland but is of New Zealand heritage.
The former Brisbane and St George Illawarra outside back has scored 15 tries in 69 games for Cronulla. He won a title with the club last year off the bench.
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