Russell Crowe’s $6m gift for Wayne Bennett
South Sydney's film star co-owner Russell Crowe is ready to hand incoming coach Wayne Bennett a $6 million house-warming gift.
The Daily Telegraph understands South Sydney are deep in negotiations with two multinational companies about becoming major sponsors for next season.
Souths are searching for major sponsors to splash across their two home and away strips.
It is understood one company is considering a four-year deal, the other a two-season contract.
While not dealing directly with the companies day-to-day, it is understood Crowe has strategically entered discussions when necessary.
Both companies have been amazed at Crowe's "passion" for the Rabbitohs.
There is little doubt his profile and fame is close to pushing negotiations across the line.
Each deal would be worth around $1m a year - a total of $6m.
News that Souths is closing in on securing two major sponsors would be a massive boost on the day Bennett will arrive at his new club.
Sources close to Souths claim the club hope to announce one deal before Christmas, the other early in the New Year.
Both jerseys should though have sponsors emblazoned on their jumpers by kick-off next season.
Crown and Fujitsu had shared the major sponsorship for home and away games with Souths.
The identities of the prospective new sponsors remain a mystery at this point.
Trying to keep his club away from further headlines, Crowe was saying little about Bennett's appointment on Monday.
Speaking from New York, where he is working until next year, Crowe only said: "Looking forward to 2019."
Souths officials would not comment on the sponsorship developments but both deals - when nailed down - would ensure the club a robust revenue stream.
Bennett meanwhile is expected to hold a media conference either Tuesday or Wednesday at Redfern.
The arrival of Bennett will potentially hasten the plans of hooker Damien Cook.
Cook, the NSW dummy-half, comes off contract after next season but has three rival clubs interested.
Souths have offered Cook a handsome four-year deal. Rabbitohs general manager of football, Shane Richardson, and club football manager, Mark Ellison, have been working hard on Cook's contract.
Meanwhile, in what will be a highly anticipated match, Souths play Brisbane next season in round eight on May 2. Souths have opened clear $1.55 favourites with Brisbane $2.45 outsiders, according to the TAB.
The NRL premiership market has remained unchanged following the Bennett-Anthony Seibold swap with Souths on the second line of betting at $8 ahead of Brisbane at $10.
"The coaching saga at Souths and Brisbane is now behind us, so it will be interesting to see if TAB customers have a preference between the two sides to win next year's NRL title," TAB's Gerard Daffy said.
"One thing I do know is that the match between these two sides in May could potentially be the biggest betting game of the home and away season."