Chris McQueen has signed a two-year deal with Gold Coast, paving the way for Sam Burgess’ South Sydney contract to be ratified by the NRL.
The former Queensland State of Origin back-rower has been granted an immediate release and will join the Titans on Monday.
“I’m really excited to come back to Queensland and take the opportunity to play a senior role with the Titans who I think have a good developing young squad,” McQueen said.
“My time at Souths was special, culminating with a premiership. They gave me a chance and stuck with me through a tough period with a knee injury and I have made some great friendships there. But I understand it’s a business now and really excited about this opportunity.
“I still feel I have my best football in front of me and this a fresh challenge.”
The Rabbitohs confirmed McQueen had been released from the final year of his contract after telling him he was free to look elsewhere.
“Chris has been a valued member of this team for many years now and has brought a lot to us both on and off the field,” Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said.
“He has evolved as a player from being a winger or centre to being a solid forward who managed to gain representative selection as well as playing a key role in our 2014 premiership victory.”
Since debuting in 2009, McQueen has made 117 NRL appearances for the Rabbitohs, including the club’s drought-breaking grand final win in 2014. He has also played six Origin matches for the Maroons in 2013-14.
The NRL last month refused to register Burgess’ contract with Souths because the club was over the salary cap, even with the departure of centre Dylan Walker.
However, McQueen’s exit will allow the Redfern club to receive the green light to formally sign the dual international.