Luke Keary’s defection from South Sydney to arch-rivals Sydney Roosters is poised to set off a round of musical chairs which will have major ramifications for the NRL player market.
It’s understood the Rabbitohs premiership-winning half is a done deal to move to Bondi on a two-year contract starting next year, however confirmation is not expected for several days due to the cooling off period.
St George Illawarra were close to signing the 24-year-old, as a replacement for veteran Benji Marshall, however the Roosters snuck under their guard at the 11th hour.
Should Marshall now reject a one-year extension offer from the Dragons, it would leave the Wollongong club in a precarious position for next year.
There are several other playmakers on the market, such as Melbourne’s Blake Green, who is expected to sign with either Manly or English Super League club Hull FC.
His place at the Storm is likely to be taken by Brisbane utility Kodi Nikorima, with the Broncos reportedly interested in replacing him with his brother Jayden, currently in reserve grade at the Roosters.
It will also have a knock-on effect for out-of-favour Roosters pivot Jackson Hastings who is being shopped around to rival clubs.
Hastings, 20, was earlier this year signed to a contract extension until the end of next season but has subsequently been out of form.
The Roosters have so far been unable to find a club to take up his contract.
The writing was on the wall after he was dropped to reserve grade last month and it appears he will have to look elsewhere to play first grade after the Tricolours signed Keary to partner Mitchell Pearce in the halves.
The Roosters landed Keary after narrowly missing out on North Queensland’s Lachlan Coote and Wests Tigers’ Mitchell Moses.
Keary had attracted interest from rugby union and last month backed himself to make a successful transition to Super Rugby.
He has recently been relegated to the bench by coach Michael Maguire to make way for skipper Greg Inglis’ shift to No.6.
His tenure at Redfern looked on shaky ground after a falling out with Souths’ co-owner Russell Crowe during a pre-season bonding camp.
Meanwhile, Sydney Roosters winger Joe Burgess has reportedly been granted an immediate release to join the Rabbitohs for the rest of the year.
Burgess agreed to head back to former club Wigan next year.