Keary driven by fresh start
Roosters recruit Luke Keary says there are no hard feelings between him and former club the South Sydney Rabbitohs after they parted ways at the end of the 2016 season.
The 24-year-old played 63 games for the Rabbitohs over four seasons, but signed a two-year deal with their arch-rivals starting in 2017.
Speaking to media at Allianz Stadium as his new club announced a sponsorship agreement with World First, Keary said his move from Redfern had been an amicable one, despite reports suggesting he and club owner Russell Crowe had had a falling out earlier in the year.
"I felt like I left on good terms with them and they treated me well and we went through some good times there," he said.
"We obviously didn't have the year we wanted last year, but I've still got a lot of friends there and a lot of respect for 'Madge' (Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire) and the coaching staff and everyone else who I got to mingle with when I was there.
"I've got a lot of mates there and I had some really good memories there and they treated me really well, but obviously with footy, people are moving and they're changing every year, so it's hard, but it's not. That's just part of footy.
"Teams that go through a bit of success or a grand final, they're very rarely able to keep a lot of that squad together.
"A lot of the boys from Souths have had to move on and there are people here who have had to move on. It just happens every off-season."
Keary, who played a starring role in the Rabbitohs' drought-breaking premiership win in 2014, said now was the time for a fresh start, and after meeting with players and the coaching staff, felt like Bondi was the right place for that to happen.
"You just get a sense as a player that it's just your time to move on. There were negotiations and everything [at Souths]… but I just felt it was the right time to move on," Keary said.
"I think I'm one of those people that likes to change things up. I couldn't imagine myself working at the same place every day.
"You're only in the game for a short time and you want to get the best out of yourself. It was just the right timing.
"After meeting 'Robbo' (Roosters coach Trent Robinson) and a few of the boys, it was a pretty easy decision. He was honest about what they were going to do and I was pretty motivated to be a part of it."
Keary is expected to link up with Mitchell Pearce in the halves in what would be one of the most scintillating pairings in the NRL, but the 24-year-old said the topic hadn't even been mooted.
The Roosters already have Jackson Hastings, Connor Watson, Ryan Matterson and Jayden Nikorima on their books. All four impressed in the halves at various stages last year, and Keary is excited about the club's options.
Rather than discuss possible combinations, Keary said Robinson had spent the first few training sessions working on the side's fitness in a bid to help them bounce back from last season's 15th-place finish.
"We haven't spoken about anything like that," he said.
"We haven't spoken too much footy stuff. This part of the year is more about getting the body right, some kilometres under the legs and to get in the gym.
"There are a lot of good young kids here. It's really good for the depth and the health of the squad. It'll be a really good competitive pre-season which always brings out the best in people.
"I'm pretty excited to be a part of this club with their proud history and I can't wait to play."
This article first appeared on NRL.COM