Bears align with Souths

28th July 2006

The North Sydney Bears have forged an alliance with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, allowing it's junior base a direct pathway to the Rabbittohs' National Rugby League side.

The Bears will act as the Rabbitohs' feeder Club in the NSW Rugby League Premier League competition, allowing the Bears access to players contracted to the Rabbitohs who haven't been selected in the NRL side. Both North Sydney and South Sydney will continue to field separate Jersey Flegg (U20s), S G Ball (U18s) and Harold Matthews (U16s) teams however the Bears will replace the Rabbittohs Premier League side.

The Rabbitohs have also announced a partnership with Brisbane Easts that will provide a Club for young Queenslanders recruited by the Rabbitohs to play at and develop without having to relocate to Sydney.

The Rabbitohs and the Bears are both foundation Clubs, having both been in existence since 1908, with the Bears and Rabbitohs celebrating their 100th season in 2007.

North Sydney Bears General Manager Greg Florimo says the changes the Rabbitohs have made recently make the outlook for the two Clubs a bright one indeed.

"We're very excited to be involved with the Rabbitohs, particularly looking at the moves Souths have made recently," Mr Florimo said.

"The move to privatisation and the strong recruitment drive that has taken place are very positive moves and we're looking forward to being a part of the future."

"The biggest impact will be that it will provide a direct pathway to the NRL for our young kids and will help with our recruitment as they will see this direct link. It will also help with the retention of our quality juniors"

Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson said: "We are delighted to have both of these Clubs [North Sydney and Brisbane Easts] aligned with us as it provides us many options for our young players as they will be dual registered with the NSWRL and the QRL.

"The Bears are a fellow foundation Club and this partnership will allow us to concentrate our efforts on the NRL side and use the Bears' expertise to run the Premier League team.

"It also gives us a presence on both sides of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, giving North Sydney juniors a pathway into the NRL with a Sydney Club.

"With the NRL looking at introducing a national under-20s competition in the not-too-distant future, many Clubs will be looking to outsource their Premier League side and we now have an agreement with a fellow foundation Club in the Bears that can see us move forward when this new competition comes to fruition."

PICTURED: 'Happy times ahead' Souths Chairman Peter Holmes a Court chats with Bears General Manager Greg Florimo and Norths Chairman Barry Glasgow.
PHOTO: Steve Little.