Robert Jennings has signed a two-year NRL deal with the Wests Tigers despite the spectre of a salary cap penalty hanging over the joint venture.
Winger Jennings was at South Sydney training on Thursday morning but by the afternoon had inked a deal with the Tigers for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, ending his four-month long contract limbo.
The 23-year-old’s contract with the Rabbitohs ran out on October 31 last year and both parties spoke of locking in a new deal however the cardinal and myrtle could not find a place for the Tongan flyer in their salary cap.
He trained with the Rabbitohs throughout the summer in the hope of getting a deal done but was eventually forced to look elsewhere.
He was signed by the Tigers, despite the prospect of them having their salary cap shaved this year.
“Robert is a quality young man who I’ve worked with before and seen develop into the talented rugby league player he is,” Tigers coach Michael Maguire said.
“He adds size, power and speed to our edges and is an excellent addition to our squad.
“Off the back of a strong season, I have no doubt he is going to fit extremely well in to our systems and I am looking forward to watching him take the next steps in his career at this club.”
Jennings made 34 appearances for the Rabbitohs over the last two years and enjoyed a breakout 2018 which saw him cross for 19 tries – the third most in the competition.
“We tried everything we could to keep Robert at the Rabbitohs but unfortunately we aren’t in a position to be able to keep him as part of our squad due to salary cap constraints,” Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson said.
“He had a break out season last year and he worked very hard to earn a spot in our NRL squad, performing strongly on the left wing outside of Greg Inglis.”
The deal now opens the door to Cowboys second-rower to now join South Sydney.
Lowe has been heavily linked with an immediate move to South Sydney, with one spot still left on the Rabbitohs roster for this season..
The 27-year-old has been named to play in the Cowboys’ pre-season hit out against the Titans on Saturday night, and Green said on Friday he didn’t see any reason why that would change.
“No one has told me he is moving at this stage, so as far as I am concerned he is still at the Cowboys,” Green told reporters on the Sunshine Coast.
A one-club player since his debut in 2013, Lowe has played 108 games for the Cowboys and was part of their 2015 premiership success.
He also played a crucial role in their run to the 2017 decider, but spent nine weeks on the outer and in Queensland Cup last year.
Green was on Friday diplomatic when asked whether the second-rower would be released.
“There’s a whole range of things that go into that … I don’t think I can answer it,” he said.