The NRL has reportedly refused to register Sam Burgess' big money deal with South Sydney, with the club being ruled to be over the salary cap.
The Seven Network on Thursday night reported the game's governing body had found that even with Dylan Walker's release from the final year of his playing contract, the Rabbitohs were still over the player payment limit for 2016.
After a stint with English rugby union, Burgess was lured back to rugby league on a three-year deal, described as the richest in the game's history and believed to be worth $1.5 million a season.
However, the deal has reportedly hit a roadblock with the NRL ruling the Redfern club will have to offload more talent if Burgess is to fit under the salary cap.
Queensland State of Origin back-rower Chris McQueen is rumoured to be on his way to Penrith and his departure could open up the door for Burgess' return to be finalised.
The announcement of Burgess' signing was met with much fanfare earlier this month.
Burgess is considered a hero among the Rabbitohs' faithful after a memorable performance in their drought-breaking 2014 NRL grand final win in which he famously played with a fractured cheekbone.