Souths trade 'world's best' for champion - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Souths trade 'world's best' for champion

By Ben Horne and Wayne Heming 24/12/2010 09:01:06 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney have received the perfect Christmas present, with the NRL confirming they will register Greg Inglis' three-year contract.

The announcement brings an end to the messy saga which has played out since he exited Melbourne Storm, turned down a deal with Brisbane at the last minute and had his original Souths contract rejected within the space of a few months.

Rabbitohs centre Beau Champion, a cousin of Inglis, has agreed to a more lucrative deal with the Storm, meaning Souths now have enough room under their cap to accommodate Inglis.

NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert rejected Inglis's original arrangement with Souths because of the way third-party payments were presented.

It became clear that to complete perhaps the biggest signing in Rabbitohs' history, they would have to shed at least one player.

After more than five hours of negotiating on Friday, Champion agreed to a one-year deal in Melbourne, with an additional two-year option in his favour.

The NRL confirmed they were happy with the manoeuvring and approved what eventually became a convoluted player swap between Melbourne and Souths.

Rabbitohs Chairman Nick Pappas was relieved at the breakthrough after weeks of frustration.

"It's a really happy occasion, it's a triumphant moment for the club. We're delighted to be bringing arguably the best player in the game to the greatest club," Pappas told AAP.

"We were always confident that he'd be playing for the Rabbitohs. We've said that from the outset.

"We've kept our dignity in the press, we haven't waged this through the press. We've just worked very hard to make sure Greg becomes a Rabbitoh."

Leaving the club where he debuted in 2005 was a bitter-sweet decision for Champion, who just completed a personal-best season.

But the chance to work with super coach Craig Bellamy at the Storm, alongside the likes of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, can only enhance his future representative chances.

"If it wasn't the club we're talking about and the coach we're talking about, it would have been much easier for him to say, no, he didn't want to leave Sydney," said Champion's manager, Sam Ayoub.

"It's been an uneasy week for him but he understands it's business.

"Although it's a three-year deal, he can move on after one. He did that more so for the fact that if he decided he wanted to come back to Sydney for family reasons, he could."

Souths also paid tribute to Champion for his services.

The announcement ends the seemingly never-ending Inglis saga that even generated stories about the Queensland and Australian Test star considering a move to AFL club Essendon.

NRL boss David Gallop remained disappointed with Souths' original lodging.

"We have always been happy for Greg to be at Souths or at any club that he chooses," said the chief executive.

"Had Souths addressed the real issues in this from the outset then both Greg and the game could have been saved a considerable amount of time."

But the announcement came on the same day respected sports' performance expert Dean Benton declared Inglis was so out of shape and patched up, that he'd be a "bad buy" for any club.

A fitness consultant for the Queensland Reds and AFL's Adelaide Crows, Benton said Inglis's ballooning weight - reportedly up around 120kg heading into Christmas following recent shoulder and hip operations - could seriously impact on his form in 2011.

"Whoever takes him will not get anything out of him in 2011," said Benton, recruited specifically by then coach Wayne Bennett when the Brisbane won their sixth and most recent NRL premiership in 2006.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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