South Sydney great Mario Fenech admits he's disappointed by Sam Burgess' decision to quit the club but is backing the Englishman to lead the team to a first NRL premiership in 43 years.
Burgess put an end to almost a month of speculation about his future on Monday by agreeing a three-year deal to move to English rugby side Bath at the end of the 2014 NRL season.
Reports in the UK have suggested a transfer fee of around STG280,000 ($A521,000) has been agreed between Bath and Souths with the 25-year-old targeting a place in England's 2015 Rugby World Cup squad.
Fenech said he was made aware of Burgess' decision to leave three weeks ago, but refused to condemn the dynamic front-rower who has been a roaring success since joining the club from Bradford in 2010.
"I am very disappointed as Sammy gives us that mongrel factor we need in the forwards," Fenech told AAP.
"But I have got to know him very well since he has been here and he's a brilliant bloke. In this career, you have to make decisions that are right for you and I wish him well.
"The most important thing is that he's here for 2014. I know for certain he will be doing everything he can to sign off with a bang and he'll want to lead this great club to a premiership at long last."
Souths announced the news on Monday morning with Burgess claiming he'd always wanted to become a dual international and the chance to return home was too hard to turn down.
"I'm happy this has all been sorted out before the start of the season so that I can concentrate on my game and the team without any other things in the way," Burgess said.
"An opportunity presented itself to head back home to England and to pursue a chance to represent my country in two different sports.
"With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup, it was an opportunity I had to pursue. I thank the Rabbitohs for allowing me to make this move and start the next chapter in my sporting career."
Burgess' departure will cast doubt on the futures of his younger brothers George and Tom and elder sibling Luke who are all on the books at Souths.
However, Fenech fully expects the trio to remain with the club for the foreseeable future.
"When I got the gist that Sam was leaving, it blew me away, because they have established their family in Sydney, and that is a good sign," he said.
"I don't doubt the rest of the Burgess boys will stay with Souths and make a contribution.
"Their mother is here as well and Luke is married with a child and well settled, so I expect them to stay with us."
Burgess will be coached by former Great Britain rugby league halfback Mike Ford at Bath.
Ford is confident the big Yorkshireman has the qualities to make a successful switch to rugby despite having never played the game.
"I've known Sam since his rugby league days in England and he is an exceptionally talented athlete," Ford said.
"I've no doubt Sam will fit in seamlessly here at Bath and we're looking forward to having him join us and start making the transition."