Crowe and Packer pay off $7m debt for Rabbitohs

Rabbitohs part owner Russell Crowe. Photo / Getty
Rabbitohs part owner Russell Crowe. Photo / Getty

South Sydney owners Russell Crowe and James Packer have given the NRL club a massive financial boost, waiving a AU$7 million debt.

The announcement that the two glamour owners had forgiven the investor loan was made at the South Sydney Members District Rugby League Football Club annual general meeting on Sunday.

The decision by Hollywood heavyweight Crowe and business mogul Packer removed a massive strain on Souths' finances, with chairman Nick Pappas saying the cardinal and myrtle were now in their best ever financial position.

As a result, it gave the club a net asset position of over AU$6 million and much-needed financial security.

"Our two private investors have graciously agreed to the complete discharge of their loan facilities on the most favourable terms for members," Pappas said.

"This has had the effect of skyrocketing our net asset position to a record AU$6.05 million, the healthiest position the Rabbitohs have ever been in.

"I know I speak on behalf of all members when I say that our appreciation goes out to our investors Russell Crowe and James Packer for helping to ensure that the Rabbitohs remain at the very forefront of our code."

Packer bought a 37.5 per cent stake in the foundation club from businessman Peter Holmes a Court in 2014, less than a month after the club broke its premiership drought.

Holmes a Court and Crowe bought the struggling club for AU$3 million in 2005 and also tipped in a further AU$6.15 million in the following years.

When Holmes a Court exited the club, his debt was paid out.

However the loan has now been cleared and the club looks set to post another bumper profit.

Last year Souths posted a AU$1.5 million profit, the biggest of any NRL club.

They were also one of three clubs, along with the Broncos and Warriors, to be in the black.

Most of Souths' profit last year was derived from their massive membership base and going into the new season they have signed by more than 29,000 members, more than any other club.

Meanwhile, Pappas and Nikolas Hatzistergos were retained as the members' representatives on the Souths board.Also television personality Ray Martin and former Souths player and coach Darryl Neville were given life memberships.

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