The moment Keary revealed he was leaving

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NRL: Luke Keary has signed a two-year deal with the Sydney Roosters after reports he was considering joining St George

Footy players are used to their teammates moving on.

An emotional Luke Keary has fronted Rabbitohs teammates to personally promise them his full commitment for the rest of the season.

Bound for archrivals the Sydney Roosters in 2017, Keary was determined to make sure the Souths’ dressing room heard it from him first that he would be leaving Redfern — although he didn’t confirm to them that the tricolours would be his new home.

Following the year of drama he has endured since his pre-season bust-up with Russell Crowe and being in-and-out of the starting side, Keary was eager to put a stop to any more innuendo surrounding his future.

The response was both warm and sombre — teammates rising one by one to shake Keary’s hand.

Footy players are used to their teammates moving on.

Footy players are used to their teammates moving on.Source:News Corp Australia

Souths fullback Alex Johnston said players appreciated the premiership-winning playmaker standing up before them on Monday and laying all his cards on the table.

“He was a little bit (emotional). I think he just tried to get it over and done with quick like ripping off a band-aid,” said Johnston.

“He didn’t want to harp on it too much, he just wanted to let us know that he’d be playing the best he can (for the rest of the year).

“Everyone went and shook his hand and wished him luck. Obviously we all loved having him around, it was pretty sad. He loves this club and would have liked to stay but at the end of the day it’s a business and he knows that and this is the decision he had to make.

It’s been a tough decision for Keary but at least it’s out in the open.

It’s been a tough decision for Keary but at least it’s out in the open.Source:Getty Images

“I’ve played with him for a few years now and to hear it come from him like that it was very much appreciated. The bloke and player he is, hearing it come from him. He’s a competitor — so I know he’ll do the job for us for the rest of the year.”

Johnston said Keary was the kind of player capable of compartmentalising his emotions and believes the 24-year-old will have his boots with him for Friday night’s do-or-die clash with Penrith at Pepper Stadium.

It’s unclear what Keary’s role will be against the Panthers however, with coach Michael Maguire switching around his halves regularly over recent weeks, happy to use Cody Walker and Greg Inglis at No.6 and possibly even John Sutton now he’s back from injury.

Souths coach Michael Maguire has other things to think about — like saving his season.

Souths coach Michael Maguire has other things to think about — like saving his season.Source:News Corp Australia

A worrying gap is starting to grow between languishing Souths and the top eight cut-off, but Tom Burgess insists the Keary issue has not become a distraction.

“No, everyone leaves clubs. I think it’s good he’s come out and said ‘I’m leaving at the end of the year and I really want to do something good this year with Souths,” Burgess said.

“So let’s rip in’. That’s fine. People leave clubs and that’s just part of the game. Obviously they’ve had a few changes in the halfback combination this year so they’ll work it out and see what’s best.

“(Luke) wanted to reassure everyone. He’s told the boys he’s leaving at the end of the year and he’s not sure where he’s going yet and that’s fair enough. He’s got to weigh up his options so in his own time he’ll make that decision and I’m sure he’ll tell the boys as well.”

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