The South Sydney Rabbitohs have lost two of their most promising outside backs ahead of the 2024 NRL season, with the duo finding new clubs to ply their trade.

Ethan Ferguson has agreed to a deal for a new club after announcing a leave from rugby league due to his mental health, whilst Josiah Karapani has left the club and moved to the Brisbane Broncos.

After being caught training with the Broncos, Zero Tackle can confirm that Karapani has left the Rabbitohs, as per a source with knowledge of the situation.

He has also followed Broncos players in recent days on Instagram, such as Reece Walsh, Benjamin Te Kura, Martin Taupau and Jesse Arthars, among others.

However, Zero Tackle are attempting to ascertain what type of contract he has signed with the Red Hill team. It is likely a Top 30 or supplementary contract - the club has three open spots on their Top 30 roster at this stage.

Growing up in New Zealand, Karapani impressed club officials in the Jersey Flegg Cup and was upgraded from a development contract to the Top 30 roster at the start of the year.

Yet to make his NRL debut, he was listed as the 18th man twice last season and played 19 games in the NSW Cup. During his games, he scored seven tries, provided three try assists, registered eight line breaks and ran an average of 123 running metres per game.

Campbell Graham, a former teammate of Karapani and member of last year's Rugby League World Cup squad, admitted to Zero Tackle at the beginning of the year that he took Karapani on his wing and tried to mentor him throughout the pre-season and season.

Halfback Lachlan Ilias also spoke about his potential at the beginning of last season and is expecting big things from him in the future.

“He is killing it at training and he has got us a few times in opposed sessions. He is someone definitely to watch out for this year," Ilias told Fox Sports.

Josiah Karapani in action. (Photo: Flickr- @NAPARAZZI)

Star prospect Ethan Ferguson has also left the club. While his departure was previously known, he has officially signed with Group Three Rugby League club Wingham Tigers for the 2024 season

Ferguson, the cousin of Latrell Mitchell and Shaquai Mitchell, joined the Rabbitohs after the club negotiated his release from the Newcastle Knights.

"They are both outside backs, carry the ball strongly and kick goals," a source close to Ferguson told Wide World of Sports, comparing him to Mitchell earlier this year.

One of the most promising centres in rugby league, Ferguson played in the Knights' SG Ball team last year, represented the Australian Schoolboys and Under-19s NSW team, and played multiple games in the NSW Cup for the Knights and Rabbitohs in 2023.

He initially left the club due to his mental health and how quickly it was spiralling.

"So it's come down to the hardest decision that I've ever had to make. It's been something that I've been thinking about for a long, long time and it's something that I never thought I would have to do," Ferguson said on his social media.

"I've made the decision to step away from rugby league due to my mental health and how quickly I was spiralling. I don't know how long I'll be gone or if I'll come back at all but it's something I needed to do for myself.

"My mental health has been an ongoing struggle for a while now and I thought ignoring it and bottling everything up maybe it would all go away but if anything it just made it worse. I wanna give a huge thankyou to @ssfcrabbitohs for understanding and continuing to help me through this next difficult chapter in my life.

"I'm forever grateful and will forever be a bunny. I also want to give a huge shoutout to my support network for their ongoing support and efforts. I would also like to take a minute to say that mental health is NOT a joke and something that should be taken seriously.

"You never know what could be going on behind closed doors so taking that moment to ask your loved ones or your mates how they're really doing and have those tough conversations.

"It's also okay for men to talk about their mental health and don't always have to be the strong member of the house. Let people know you're struggling, talk to them, talk to anyone, DON'T let it bottle up and kill you on the inside. Please. Just talk. #mensmentalhealth #mensmentalhealthawareness"