Just when you thought Souths couldn't get any dumber... Souths swoop in $6.5m bid June 9, 2005 THE South Sydney Rabbitohs are poised to pull off the rugby league signing coup of the decade by snaring champion halves Braith Anasta and Matt Orford in a $6.5 million package deal. The Daily Telegraph can today reveal Anasta will become the highest paid player in the game on a $4 million deal over five years and that Orford will earn more than $500,000-a-season if they sign after the June 30 anti-tampering deadline. The Anasta deal is backed by a third party, a huge firm whose representatives have been secretly working behind the scenes to pull together an agreement. Because of the severity of the NRL's anti-tampering fines, with clubs facing penalties of up to $1 million for rogue dealing, Souths boss Shane Richardson has not officially put the offer to Anasta or his manager Greg Willett. But they are both aware of the amount that will be offered once the Rabbitohs CEO puts the deal on the table. Richardson said last night: "We're sitting back and waiting until July 1 when we can officially do business." Sources believe the offer to Anasta is simply too good to refuse and that Orford has all but agreed with his manager George Mimis to join the Rabbitohs, as long as the Bulldogs champion signs. Melbourne Storm have given up all hope of retaining the star halfback, who was poised to join Manly last week before being won over by the Rabbitohs. Mimis was careful with his words yesterday but conceded the once great South Sydney club presented an enormous challenge for Orford. "Matt thinks it would be excellent to be part of a South Sydney revival," Mimis said. "It would be really exciting for not only the Rabbitohs but for rugby league in general. "He couldn't do it single handedly but he's obviously interested and we'll see what eventuates. "We've had lengthy negotiations for many weeks with Melbourne and unfortunately we haven't been able to reach an agreement at this stage. "A number of other clubs, here and overseas, have also expressed an interest." When asked if he was prepared to wait until July 1 to listen to what Souths plan to offer, Anasta said: "I've come this far and I haven't signed so I'm probably better off waiting. "It's probably looking that way. It's not long to go. "But at the moment I don't really want to talk about next year. I'm in Origin camp and my complete focus is on the game next Wednesday night." Bulldogs chairman George Peponis admitted last night it was now a two-horse race between his club and the Rabbitiohs for the most prized signature on the open market. Anasta is a former Souths junior from Maroubra and had informal talks with his uncle George Piggins over dinner last week.