"I'm pretty sure South Sydney will be doing all they can to keep Maguire here": Asotasi. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Departing prop Roy Asotasi has urged South Sydney to sign Michael Maguire - the man he credits with rejuvenating not only the Rabbitohs but also his career - to a long-term deal.
Maguire's three-year contract expires at the end of next season, and rival clubs including Parramatta, Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra are circling should the Rabbitohs stall extending his tenure.
With another preliminary finals appearance, to match Maguire's first season achievements, Asotasi wants Maguire to be locked in to an extended deal at the club.
''I'm pretty sure South Sydney will be doing all they can to keep Maguire here,'' Asotasi said. ''He has done so much for this club and since he has taken over, the club has done well on and off the field.
''It'll surprise me if Madge does move on. He'll be here for as long as he needs to be.''
Maguire is Asotasi's third coach at the Rabbitohs since joining in 2007. After his high-profile switch from Canterbury, Asotasi expected South Sydney to flourish after a finals appearance in his first year.
''Being able to get into the first week of semis was great for the club,'' Asotasi said.
''I don't think they'd been there for 19 years. So I thought a lot of good things would come the following years but unfortunately they didn't.
''We struggled to make the finals series and I had a few injuries which hampered my seasons. To come back and have someone like Maguire come on board [he] probably put South Sydney back to where it needs to be.''
A loss against Manly would end Asotasi's seven-year stint at the club, before he heads to play for Warrington next year.
Although he featured in 84 games for the Bulldogs, including tasting premiership success in 2004, Asotasi said his heart and allegiances now rest with South Sydney.
''Most of my first-grade years have been at the Rabbitohs,'' Asotasi said. ''I was a young pup at the Bulldogs but playing-wise I would probably call this home.
''I've spent such a long time here. I've met so many people here and I've seen players come and go and my heart holds a special place for South Sydney.''