Tim Grant has expressed relief that his on-off move to South Sydney next season has finally been rubber stamped.
Grant, who impressed for NSW in the 2012 State of Origin series, was informed by Penrith to find a new club at the start of the year despite having two years remaining on his contract.
The 26-year-old local junior admits it was tough being told by the club he made his NRL debut for in 2007 he was free to leave.
He said meeting with other clubs was also difficult to do.
But after sitting down with Souths coach Michael Maguire he was sold on a move to Redfern and shook hands on a contract with Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson.
Speculation Grant was on his way out the door reached fever pitch when he was dumped to NSW Cup by Panthers coach Ivan Cleary for the round four clash with Parramatta.
The club’s supporters were outraged at the decision to offload another local junior after Luke Lewis and Michael Jennings were shown the door in 2012, to alleviate the salary cap.
Under pressure from their members, the Panthers board then performed a huge backflip and infuriated Grant by telling him he was now staying.
“I was under the impression I was moving on, then commercially it came to the 11th hour, the Panthers did some sums and I wasn’t going anywhere,” Grant said.
“But I am a man of my word and I’d spoken to Shane Richardson and Michael Maguire and shaken hands with them.
“But thankfully we got things sorted and it’s a relief for me to put it all behind me.”
Grant has been a mainstay of the Panthers pack for the last seven years and admits it was big shock being told he was being shown the door.
“I was told at the start of the year I could start looking around because of the salary cap,” Grant said.
“I spoke to a fair few clubs and I wasn’t really keen on leaving to be honest.
“To be honest it was difficult at first, it’s a big club and I’ve had so many good times here. But I feel this was the right move for me and the club.
“Penrith will always be my home. I came here in 2007 as a young kid with a a dream. I know it sounds cheesy but I played first grade here and that’s something I never thought I could do.
“But I have a lot of unfinished business here still and I will be giving my best for as long as I pull on a Penrith jersey.”