South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold expects "nothing to change" with Angus Crichton next season despite the rising star leaving the club in 2019.
The club confirmed on Monday that the young forward would depart Redfern at the 2018 Telstra Premiership season.
Crichton has played 30 NRL matches with Souths, emerging as a star in the making last season, scoring seven tries.
He declined a three-year contract offer from the Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters are the favourites to secure his signature.
"I'm disappointed he's decided to move on but we've made him a very good offer for three years but he's decided to move on," Seibold said.
"For 2018 he's still a Rabbitoh. I enjoy working with Angus and nothing will change from my point of view. We focus on our next task.
"I don't find it a difficult situation. That's reality. I have a really good relationship with Angus. He spoke to me yesterday about his decision and I understand his decision.
"He's a person first and a footy player second. As much as we're disappointed as a club, Gus is comfortable with his decision. I don’t find it awkward. He's a professional."
A move back to Bondi would result in Crichton returning to the club that was his first rugby league affiliation as a lower-grader in 2014, having switched over from high school rugby where he earned Australian Schoolboys honours.
Crichton moved across to the Rabbitohs NYC system in 2015 and made his NRL debut in 2016, with seven of his eight caps that year coming off the bench. His form exploded in 2017 when he was promoted to the starting side from round six. His potent attacking game saw him bag seven tries for the season and a monstrous 107 tackle busts – the most of any forward other than Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo (114).
The athletic second-rower has been one of the most sought-after free agents with the Cronulla Sharks and the Australian Rugby Union also expressing their interest in the 21-year-old.