Lewis makes Souths' headache bigger - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lewis makes Souths' headache bigger

By Adrian Warren and David Beniuk 28/05/2008 07:40:24 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney's tumultuous week hit a new low when Penrith star Luke Lewis reneged on a handshake deal with the Rabbitohs to re-sign with the Panthers for a further four years.

Lewis shocked Souths by knocking back a deal reportedly worth more than $350,000 a year despite the best efforts of Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe who met the former Kangaroo tourist on Tuesday.

The Rabbitohs have been in crisis mode since Crowe's partner Peter Holmes a Court said last week he could not guarantee the long-term future of the club.

Holmes a Court quit as executive chairman on Monday.

Reports then surfaced of an explosive cafe meeting between coach Jason Taylor and Crowe as Souths appointed former Cronulla and Penrith coach John Lang as a football consultant following the club's dismal one win from 10 starts this season.

Reports said Crowe and Holmes a Court had attempted to patch up a rift at a Sydney restaurant on Tuesday night.

Lewis denied his backflip was a response to the turmoil at the Rabbitohs.

"First I said I was going to go to Souths and I was always willing to do the right thing," Lewis said.

"There's a few issues have come up and then the opportunity to stay at Penrith came up as well.

"We've got someone in the family who's a bit crook at the moment ... I don't want to go into too much depth about it and I just like to be close, I don't really like the travel.

"I'm not thinking anything to do with footy really, I'm just think more about family and myself at the moment."

Souths wished the three-time NSW State of Origin representative well.

"We understand the personal reasons involved in his decision and we wish him the best of luck in the future," new Souths chief executive Shane Richardson said in the statement.

Meanwhile, dropped Rabbitohs five-eighth Ben Rogers denied he is poised to walk out on the club.

Rogers' contract expires at the end of this year and he has not been signed for 2009.

"I'm not sure where I stand at the moment," he said.

"I've been playing reserve grade for the North Sydney Bears and I think I'm playing not too bad and it seems I'm not really in the club's plans to be honest, I'm not sure where I stand myself."

Asked if Souths coach Jason Taylor had spoken to him about what he needed to do regain his first grade spot, Rogers said: "He's been pretty quiet, it's a little bit frustrating."

The 23-year-old, who is in his third season with the Rabbitohs after two years at Penrith, was keen to stay with Souths.

Rogers last played in first grade against Brisbane back in round seven at Suncorp Stadium.

"I've been playing pretty good in reserve grade with Dean Widders playing at five-eighth (in first grade) and I don't know how to get back there to be honest," he said.

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