Sydney Roosters have finally lured a big name to Bondi ahead of the 2017 NRL season after the club on Tuesday announced the signing of South Sydney premiership winner Luke Keary on a two-year deal.
The loss of NSW five-eighth James Maloney to Cronulla has hit the Roosters hard this year and they have recently missed out on the signatures of Lachlan Coote and Mitchell Moses.
But the rebuild at the second-last placed Roosters can now begin after the acquisition of Keary, who helped lead Souths to the 2014 NRL title.
Roosters recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan welcomed the signing of the 24-year-old Keary.
“Luke is a gifted playmaker who will add depth and experience to our squad, and we see him taking his game to the next level at the Roosters,” O’Sullivan said.
“We are pleased to have secured Luke’s services and look forward to him joining our club in 2017, he added.
The Roosters beat St George Illawarra and Melbourne for the services of Keary.
Keary will partner Mitchell Pearce in the Roosters halves from next season, with the future of Jackson Hastings at the Bondi Junction club now under a cloud.
“I’ve created some fantastic memories at this club and made some life-long friendships as well,” Keary said.
“There is still a job to be done this season and I will be giving my all every time I get the opportunity to wear the Rabbitohs jersey.”
Souths coach Michael Maguire paid tribute to Keary.
“Luke has grown as a player and a person during his time with the club and he’s enjoyed some great success with this team,” Maguire said.
Keary’s premiership-winning Souths teammates said they were sad to see him exit Redfern.
Prop Tom Burgess, who claimed the 2014 NRL title alongside Keary, said he would be missed.
“This is his last year now so we just have to make the most of the time we have together. He is a great teammate,” Burgess said.
Alex Johnston was also part of the Rabbitohs’ 2014 premiership-winning side with Keary in a season when he announced himself as a playmaker of note.
“It is sad to see him go but we get to play the rest of the year with him and I am looking forward to doing that,” Johnston said.