Nicholls still not ready to exit Souths

·2-min read

Mark Nicholls has revealed how he spent weeks in last summer's Christmas break agonising over his future before eventually deciding to leave South Sydney.

A cult-hero for Rabbitohs fans, Saturday night will be Nicholls' last game for the Bunnies if they are beaten by Penrith in the preliminary final.

Initially re-signed by South Sydney at the start of last year on a two-year deal not announced until October, Nicholls had a long-standing agreement with the club he could look elsewhere if more money was available.

That prompted conversations with Wayne Bennett once the coach left the Rabbitohs about a move to the Dolphins, before a long Christmas break weighing up what will likely be his last NRL contract.

"It was definitely a difficult decision. It was one that I wrestled with over the Christmas break," Nicholls told AAP.

"I had some time off and was around the family and was able to weigh up the pros and cons.

"Souths had said that there probably wasn't the money there that I maybe deserved to be on (when I re-signed).

"And then obviously at the end of the year the new team was announced and I knew Wayne was going, so it probably went from there.

"One of the things that made the decision easier was I knew I still had 12 months and didn't have to go straight away."

Not that Nicholls is ready to leave yet, even with that time close to up.

The 32-year-old has made no secret of the fact the Rabbitohs have turned him into a first-grader, after playing just 26 NRL matches in the first five seasons of his career.

And in return, he is desperate to deliver the club just its second premiership in 51 years.

The front-rower has been in Souths' squad for each of the club's five preliminary finals, but is yet to lift a trophy at the Rabbitohs.

He will play a crucial role in Saturday's match, well aware he must quell Penrith's in-form middle and also do a job on Nathan Cleary with heavy kick pressure throughout.

"It'd be disappointing to end this weekend," Nicholls said.

"It's something you think about during the week (that it could be the last at the club), but I haven't actually thought about it on game day.

"We've got a pretty tough job ahead of us this weekend. But we also know what the reward is at the end of it.

"There would be no better way to go out than win a grand final at South Sydney."