South Sydney have been handed a multi-million dollar victory with the NRL approving a medical retirement for Sam Burgess, exempting his contract from the salary cap.
The 30-year-old English international had four years remaining on his deal with the Rabbitohs at an estimated $1.2 million per season, with that money now freed up in the club's salary cap.
With a windfall to spend, the Rabbitohs are now expected to intensify their mission to sign Gold Coast and Queensland forward Jai Arrow as a replacement.
The move would have huge ramifications on the NRL player market with the Titans also linked to off-contract Roosters star Latrell Mitchell.
Earlier this week coach Wayne Bennett confirmed to he would love to bring 24-year-old Arrow to the club and meetings were being held with the Maroons lock and his manager.
"We would like to have Jai at South Sydney," Bennett told the Courier Mail.
"I haven't spoken to Jai personally, Shane Richardson is handling it all.
"Richo is meeting with his manager in the next 24 to 48 hours. He has already met with Jai and that's our position.
"We'll have a conversation over the next 24 hours and hopefully Jai's manager is happy with our offer.
"Me and Jai work great together. He knows if he comes to South Sydney I will want him here. It's a great club with a lot of tradition and Jai would fit in well here."
On Friday it was confirmed the NRL accepted Burgess's chronic left shoulder condition was a new injury suffered after he signed a contract extension at the end of 2018.
The club was successful in claiming the extent of the damage only became apparent earlier this year after routine surgery, limiting him to 19 NRL games this season.
It's expected Burgess will remain involved with the club, taking up an administration role.
Australian Associated Press