Rugby League

John Olive leaves South Sydney Rabbitohs, Brisbane Broncos snare Tevita Pangai

The NRL's pre-season merry-go-round continues as Queensland clubs secure two of arguably the most-talented youngsters in the game in John Olive and Tevita Pangai.

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Olive will join the Titans as early as Monday after being granted an immediate release from South Sydney and will add some much-needed depth to the Gold Coast's outside backs. He follows former Rabbitohs teammate Chris McQueen in an off-season move to the Titans while the Rabbitohs also released Dylan Walker to Manly. 

Pangai's move to Brisbane has been fast-tracked and he is expected to join the Broncos for training early this week. 

Olive and Pangai had already signed two-year deals with the Titans and Broncos respectively from 2017, but those deals have been extended to three years after their releases.

Olive is rated one of the best young outside backs in the NRL after starring in the under-20s competition. The Kingsgrove Colts junior had a taste of first grade last year, playing one game, and he started on the wing for South Sydney in the annual Charity Shield game earlier this month. 

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At just 19, Olive is still eligible for the under-20s competition. He represented NSW under-20s last year, despite being a year young and played for the Australian Schoolboys in 2014. 

The Titans have been keen to bolster their outside back depth and tried to sign Olive's former South Sydney teammate Bryson Goodwin, only for the Rabbitohs to reject his request for a release. Olive will now put pressure on the likes of David Mead and Anthony Don for a starting wing spot.

Olive foil: back John Olive will join the Titans this week.
Olive foil: back John Olive will join the Titans this week. Photo: Getty Images

While Goodwin, Greg Inglis and Alex Johnston are guaranteed starting spots in the Rabbitohs outside backs, Hymel Hunt, Kirisome Auva'a, Aaron Gray, Michael Oldfield and Dane Nielsen are competing for the other two spots.  

Meanwhile, the early addition of back-rower Joseph Tapine from Newcastle to Canberra has allowed the Raiders to release Pangai a season early to Brisbane.

Tapine – who had also signed for Canberra for 2017 – was released last week by the Knights after a stand-off to join the Raiders immediately.

Pangai has already been compared to former Raiders teammates Josh Papalii.

The back-rower, who turned 20 earlier this month, has had a decorated junior career. He represented the Junior Kangaroos for two years and played for NSW in the under-15s and under-18s.

Tapine signed a four-year deal with the Raiders. 

"It was about being patient and just waiting," Tapine said recently. "I think it was dealt with good and I'm happy with the result.

"It's definitely hard leaving the boys, the friends you make there. I'm just looking forward to footy and getting to know the boys and the structure here."

Olive, Pangai and Tapine join a host of players including Walker, McQueen, Michael Jennings, Will Hopoate, James Roberts, Pauli Pauli, Peta Hiku, Tim Lafai and James Gavet to make a switch deep into pre-season training.

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