The South Sydney Rabbitohs are poised to split with their feeder club the North Sydney Bears in a move that will end the 11-year association between clubs.
The drastic call is a response to North Sydney’s signing of troubled star Todd Carney, who’s recently move to Sydney to be closer to his family.
The Rabbitohs’ likely decision to cut ties with the Bears has been on the radar for a while, after the NRL club publicly warned the Bears not to sign the player best known for his off-field antics.
However the Bears have shown they will make decisions for themselves, and not for the Rabbitohs, with club boss Perry Lopez telling Fairfax Media that Carney will be lining up for the team this weekend.
“The North Sydney Bears see it as a fantastic opportunity to have a player of Todd Carney’s ilk join the club,” Lopez said.
“He will be donning a Bears jersey and playing in the Intrust Super Premiership from next weekend.
“We are the North Sydney Bears, we’re not South Sydney.
“The decision is based on what’s best for our club. At the end of the day, if they don’t like the decision the Bears make, they can take it up with us.”
South Sydney are likely to pull all their fringe players out of the Bears system as a response, with the Sydney Roosters reportedly interested in filling the void.
“We’ve spoken to Norths about Todd Carney and it’s our position that we will develop our young halves as opposed to bringing in a player from outside the Club in this instance,” Rabbitohs general manager Shane Richardson said.
“Players such as Adam Doueihi, Connor Tracey and Dean Hawkins are all excellent young players who we see as future players in the NRL and our efforts will be concentrated on them.
“‘The Rabbitoh Way’ is to build a culture that rewards young players for hard work, a culture that has respect for the Club and its people, respects the Members and sponsors that invest financially and emotionally into what we are doing here at South Sydney, and a culture of developing young players that want to play for South Sydney and that we see having a future NRL career.”
The Rabbitohs had already warned the Bears last week of their position on Carney, saying the club’s preference was to have a feeder club that helped nurture their future NRL talent.
The move makes Carney’s dream of returning to the NRL even more unlikely, especially considering the Roosters are one of the clubs to have already cut ties with the star playmaker.