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Rabbitohs centre James Roberts.

South Sydney have confirmed James Roberts's release from the final year of his contract on compassionate grounds.

Roberts and the Rabbitohs have agreed to part ways and forego the 2021 component of his deal in what South Sydney described as "a decision agreed by both the player and the club" in a statement on Tuesday

The 27-year-old former NSW centre has endured a wretched run of injuries since joining Wayne Bennett from Brisbane midway through last season, playing just six games this year before suffering a pectoral injury.

Roberts also checked himself into a mental health facility earlier this year and thanked the club for their support throughout a difficult season.

"With the support of Souths, I am working closely with professionals to get myself healthy and into a position where I can play my best footy and support my family," he said.

"Souths have been very supportive during this period, helping me to focus on the recovery from my pec injury and providing support for Anna, me and the kids."

Roberts will leave Redfern without an immediate playing option for 2021.

Several clubs are weighing up outside back options with the player market in somewhat of a flux around the movements of high-profile flyers Josh Addo-Carr and Josh Mansour.

Bennett has his say on Rabbitohs season

At his best Roberts is regarded as one of the game's fastest men and a genuine representative strike centre, with Souths CEO Blake Solly backing him to return to the game's highest level in the future.

"We’ve held many discussions and meetings with James, his family and his representatives over recent months about a path forward for James," Solly said.

"James is an elite athlete and he certainly could play at the highest levels of the game in the NRL again.

"James and his family will always be Rabbitohs, and we will continue to support them as he looks to continue his career."

Roberts started his career at Souths before stints at Penrith, the Gold Coast and Brisbane prior to his return to the club last year.


Help is available 24/7 for anyone who has mental health issues by calling Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14

For further information on the NRL State of Mind program, click here

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