Former NRL player Todd Carney has officially signed a deal to play rugby league with the North Sydney Bears.

The move to add the controversial halfback to their ranks will now almost certainly lead to an end of a working relationship between the club and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

And it may even open the way for one of the NRL club's fiercest rivals, the Sydney Roosters, to step in in their place.

The Bears have ignored the strongly stated wishes of the Rabbitohs, who threatened last week to walk away from their partnership if Carney joined the club.

The Rabbitohs warned their second tier feeder club there would be no way for Carney to progress through to first grade through their connection.

The Bears and Rabbitohs have been in partnership since 2007.

Rabbitohs general manager of football, Shane Richardson, last week said the club's priority was to develop the young players within its system.

"We've spoken to Norths about Todd Carney and it's our position that we will develop our young halves, as opposed to bringing in a player from outside the club in this instance," Richardson said.

"'The 'Rabbitoh Way' is to build a culture that rewards young players for hard work, a culture that has respect for the club and its people, respects the members and sponsors that invest financially and emotionally into what we are doing here at South Sydney, and a culture of developing young players that want to play for South Sydney and that we see having a future NRL career."

Following a series of negative off-field incidents, the former Rooster and Shark sought to rebuild his career in Europe at the end of 2014, playing stints with the Catalan Dragons and Salford Reds in the English Super League.

Carney was linked with Manly and the North Queensland Cowboys on his return to Australia earlier this year, training with the latter while seeking approval to return to the NRL.

However, that arrangement came to an end when Carney left to return to Sydney earlier this month, citing family reasons.

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