South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold expects "nothing to change" with Angus Crichton next season despite the rising star leaving the club in 2019.
The club confirmed on Monday that the young forward would depart Redfern at the 2018 Telstra Premiership season, with Crichton set to join the Sydney Roosters on a three-year deal.
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Crichton has played 30 NRL matches with Souths, emerging as a star in the making last season, scoring seven tries.
"I'm disappointed he's decided to move on but we've made him a very good offer for three years but he's decided to move on," Seibold said.
"For 2018 he's still a Rabbitoh. I enjoy working with Angus and nothing will change from my point of view. We focus on our next task.
"I don't find it a difficult situation. That's reality. I have a really good relationship with Angus. He spoke to me yesterday about his decision and I understand his decision.
"He's a person first and a footy player second. As much as we're disappointed as a club, Gus is comfortable with his decision. I don't find it awkward. He's a professional."
A move back to Bondi would result in Crichton returning to the club that was his first rugby league affiliation as a lower-grader in 2014, having switched over from high school rugby where he earned Australian Schoolboys honours.
Crichton moved across to the Rabbitohs NYC system in 2015 and made his NRL debut in 2016, with seven of his eight caps that year coming off the bench. His form exploded in 2017 when he was promoted to the starting side from round six. His potent attacking game saw him bag seven tries for the season and a monstrous 107 tackle busts – the most of any forward other than Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo (114).
I know he's very committed about staying here for 2018. We expect to see a really positive season from Gussy before he departs," Seibold said.
"One thing I know about Gussy is he's a very dedicated professional … and we expect that to continue.
"He's a very good player. He's shown tremendous potential and we're hoping to see the fruits of that."
The athletic second-rower has been one of the most sought-after free agents with the Cronulla Sharks and the Australian Rugby Union also expressing their interest in the 21-year-old.
South Sydney have most of their squad under contract beyond 2018 with Sam and Tom Burgess, Robbie Farah and John Sutton the biggest names who will be on the open market at the end of next season.
Crighton will come face-to-face with his future teammates when the Rabbitohs and Roosters meet in round six of the NRL season at Allianz Stadium.