Digital Image by Brett Crockford © nrlphotos.com :	 Justin O'Neill  NRL, Rugby League, Round 6 Melbourne Storm v  St George-Illawarra Dragons @ AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC, Monday April 14th, 2014.

Melbourne Storm has granted Justin O’Neill an immediate release from his playing contract.

O’Neill, 23, was contracted to Storm until the end of 2016, but will now join North Queensland Cowboys.

Storm CEO Mark Evans said: “On behalf of everyone at Storm, I’d like to thank Justin for his contribution to the Club.

“Justin was an Under-20’s graduate who went on to become a Premiership-winning winger in 2012 and he will always be welcome at Storm.

“We wish him and his partner well for the future.”

O’Neill played 67 games in five years for the Storm with injuries restricting him to just four games last season.

Storm announced on Thursday it signed powerful Canterbury forward Dale Finucane to a three-year deal.