Manly admit they are devastated to lose Glenn Stewart after South Sydney confirmed they signed the dual premiership-winning back-rower for the next two NRL seasons.
Stewart's future has been the source of much speculation this season and a tense Manly were dealing with the fallout of his move next year at training on Tuesday.
Former captain Jason King fronted the media to express the playing group's disappointment about losing him.
"It is very disappointing," King said.
"He has been a crucial member of our team, integral to a lot of success we have had over the years.
"Not only that, he is a really good teammate.
"He has done everything possible in his power for the club in the time he has been here.
"Souths are getting a very good footballer and a good bloke as well.
"At the end of the year, we will be a bit devastated that he is leaving but we wish him all the best."
Stewart's brother, Brett, made a statement to media at the Sea Eagles' Narrabeen base regarding his drink-driving charge but refused to answer questions about Glenn's departure.
Meanwhile, George Burgess admits he doesn't know whether two State of Origin forwards will be enough to fill the gaping hole left by his brother Sam at South Sydney next season.
The Rabbitohs confirmed on Tuesday that Glenn Stewart had signed a two-year deal with the Redfern-based club from 2015, just days after they nabbed fellow representative Tim Grant from Penrith.
The news ended months of speculation surrounding Stewart's future at the Sea Eagles, who were unable to offer him a new contract because of salary-cap pressures.
But with Sam Burgess's defection to rugby union freeing up some money at Souths, coach Michael Maguire was quick to swoop on the 184-game veteran and four-time grand finalist.
"It's a good signing," George Burgess said on Tuesday.
"He's a very good player, an experienced player and will probably add a lot to the side next year.
"He's got a lot of skills and tricks up his sleeve and it will add a lot to the young players in the squad.
"We've got a few young back-rowers playing. It'll help them along with their progress."
Stewart, 30, has played five Tests for Australia and three State of Origin games for NSW, including one alongside future teammate and two-time Blues rep Grant in 2012.
Asked whether he thought the two newcomers would make up for the loss of Sam, George said: "I don't know.
"We'll have to wait and see. I can't really see the future.
"But Sam's a massive player for us, he does a lot of work for us, so it'll be a pretty big spot to fill."
Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said he was delighted the club had secured Stewart's services.
He labelled him "one of the linchpins" to the success of the Sea Eagles over the past decade.
"He's a really tough player in attack and defence that can ball-play as well, and we're looking forward to adding him to our squad during the next preseason," Maguire said.
Stewart kept a low profile on Tuesday, but said in a statement he was glad to have sorted out his future early in the season.
"I've really enjoyed the times I've had at Manly over the past 12 seasons but circumstances at the club have led to me moving on at the end of this year," he said. AAP