SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 13: James Roberts of the Rabbitohs looks dejected at fulltime during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Sydney Cricket Ground on September 13, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

James Roberts was released from the South Sydney Rabbitohs last week and immediately the rumours starting circulating.

People couldn’t seem to figure out what would cause a 27-year-old to leave behind $500,000-per-year.

The Sydney Morning Herald has provided more insight into his departure from Redfern.

Roberts signed off on a one-strike-and-out clause that allowed them to terminate his contract if he stepped out of line at any point.

Souths had the opportunity on multiple occasions to trigger the clause after Roberts’ commitment to the club had been drawn into question, however they were reluctant to boot him out given the battles he had faced to this point in his life.

It’s reported the club paid close to $30,000 in psychological support for Roberts and his family, including a month’s stay at a northern beaches rehabilitation clinic to help him deal with the struggles related to the COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney.

That support is set to continue despite his release with the club committing to continue their financial assistance of the 27-year-old, which it is estimated to cost another $30,000 for the next 12 months.

When South Sydney discussed the contract breaches three months ago, which were minor, the Rabbitohs decided against immediately terminating his deal.

They instead continued to pay Roberts for the remainder of the rugby league financial year. It cost the club more than $100,000, but the club had Roberts’ welfare at the forefront of their decision making.

There has been very little interest shown from other clubs, but Newcastle are believed to be considering offering Roberts a lifeline.