Rugby League

South Sydney Rabbitohs sign former Queensland Origin centre Dane Nielsen

South Sydney have thrown Dane Nielsen an NRL lifeline, signing the former Maroons three-quarter as a potential replacement for Dylan Walker.

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Nielsen's Australian professional career appeared over after he was sacked by St George Illawarra last March after a woman claimed he bit her on the leg during a drinking session at a Cronulla nightspot.

The journeyman outside back spent time in Mackay following the incident before earning a contract with Bradford. However, the 30 year old was again clubless after his English stint came to a premature end and after just five appearances for the Bulls.

"Dane will not be playing for us in 2016," said Bradford managing director Steve Ferres.

"We have taken the decision not to extend his contract for a second season."

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Nielsen returned to Australia recently in the hope of resuming his NRL career and will get his wish after agreeing to terms with South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs were looking to bolster their backline depth after Australian three-quarter Walker was released from his contract to fill the Manly No.6 jersey vacated by the departure of Kieran Foran to Parramatta.

The 2014 premiers had made a play for James Roberts following the contract forgery scandal that prompted the Dally M centre of the year to leave the Gold Coast, but missed out to Brisbane. They then turned their attention to Nielsen, who is expected to train with his new teammates for the first time on Monday.

Nielsen represented Queensland on three occasions, in the 2011-12 seasons, and also made one appearance for the Indigenous All Stars side in 2012. However, the former Sharks, Storm, Warriors and Dragons centre has struggled to recapture that form in recent seasons and it appeared the biting incident had finished his NRL career.

It's understood the Rabbitoh's signing of Nielsen is the first act of Shane Richardson since he returned to the club as the general manager of football following a stint as the NRL's head of game strategy and development.

The move also continues an unprecedented off season for the movement of centres following the Jamal Idris' decision to walkaway from Penrith and rugby league indefinitely, Will Hopoate moving from Parramatta to Canterbury, Tim Lafai shifting from the Bulldogs to St George Illawarra, Dale Copley joining the Roosters, Michael Jennings switching to Parramatta, the Walker and Roberts moves and the release of Delouise Hoeter from Wests Tigers.

Nielsen will vie for a spot in the Rabbitohs backline with fellow centre contenders Kirisome Auva'u, Hymel Hunt, Aaron Gray, Angus Crighton, Michael Oldfield and Bryson Goodwin.

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