And Tedesco said during the week in an interview with Channel Nine news that he wants to play out the rest of his career at the Bondi club. That may explain why Mitchell is showing interest in a permanent move to five-eighth when Luke Keary moves in to play half after Cooper Cronk calls it quits.
Beyond positional considerations, there are family pressures weighing on Mitchell: a constant theme is that family members have a genuine fondness for South Sydney.
There is also a feeling from the Mitchell family that not enough was done by the Roosters for Latrell’s brother Shaq, a young forward with loads of potential. His issues were weight and injury.
The Roosters will say – and provide evidence – that they did everything possible to help Shaq make it in the big time. The last we heard, he injured himself in a local NFL tryout when he was thinking of giving American football a crack. The Roosters have monitored his life and they provided help with a job he was trying to get.
Latrell is also in the middle of a split from his long-time agent, Steve Deacon, the former Easts centre. This issue was discussed by Roosters officials during the week. The Roosters fear Mitchell will link up with agent Matt Rose – a close friend of Mitchell, who also does fight promotion.
Mitchell was at the weigh-in when Paul Gallen fought John Hopoate. He just hung out in a corner of the room and politely declined interview requests. The theory is that if Rose takes charge of his career, Mitchell will end up at Souths. The Rabbitohs are privately hoping that is what happens.
But that’s not to say Rose has a great relationship with Souths officials, although his biggest star, Cody Walker, is at the club.
Wayde Rushton, who manages Kalyn Ponga, is another being mentioned as a potential agent.
The Mitchell case certainly is a fascinating one. It’s a tribute to his ability that he is still managing to star on the field.
A different approach to religious freedom
Before Israel Folau decided to put religion above all else, Will Hopoate made a great sacrifice, quitting rugby league to undertake a Mormon mission.
He then sacrificed hundreds of thousands of dollars by refusing to play on Sundays.
A portion of his career was played under the leadership of Raelene Castle – who was the Bulldogs boss at the time but is now the head of Rugby Australia. Castle was the Bulldogs boss from July 2013 to August 2017. Hopoate clearly felt comfortable expressing his religious views under her leadership.
Castle had numerous discussions with Folau about his use of social media and his religious views, but it obviously didn’t get through to him. Otherwise he would not be fighting for his $4 million deal.
Hopoate is not a controversial character and does not want to get involved in the Folau issue, but he was prepared to discuss his experiences with Castle and the Bulldogs.
‘‘One thing that I’ve been proud of here at Canterbury is that they have allowed me to live my faith,’’ he said. ‘‘There is no pressure … I’ve been allowed to live my life without any instruction.
‘‘The Izzy thing is a hot topic and a difficult one to say too much about. I’d rather not put myself out there and say something dumb. I know Izzy, but we are not close.’’
Hopoate’s Instagram is full of his faith. On February 3 he wrote: ‘‘I’m Christian … this doesn’t make me better than anyone, but it helps me be better.’’ On March 3 he wrote: ‘‘If church was for perfect people, the chapel would be empty.’’
It’s a regular theme on his page. He is strong in faith, but he doesn’t force his views on others. After having the club’s blessing for some time not to play on Sundays, there was a rethink.
‘‘In a perfect world, I would like to have Sundays off,’’ he said. ‘‘But Canterbury is my employer and I have a commitment to them and I have to do what they ask of me. To play footy, I think I will continue that mode. If I was granted a wish then I wouldn’t [play Sundays], but I’m not kicking stones.
“What has happened has happened and I am moving on from there. I want to keep playing football for as long as I can.
‘‘When I finish I want to be involved in youth work. I have been going around to high schools sharing my journey to the NRL. I know how much my youth leaders shaped my life and what an influence they had on me and I’d like to have that effect on people. I like to talk about resilience and positivity and how to apply that to your life.’’
White or wrong?
In the long run, Anthony Seibold will probably taste success – with his roster and resources he has to – but it’s looking tougher and tougher for the club’s chief executive, Paul White, to survive.
Wayne Bennett’s continued success at the Rabbitohs should mean White is under huge pressure. White was the one who speared a legend of the game when he pushed Bennett out the door last year.
It gets even more interesting because not only does Seibold have a five-year deal, but he has an option for a sixth season in his favour. It’s hard to believe.
Seibold has not been big on seeing out his contracts. He left Manly early and then swung into the top job at South Sydney after Michael Maguire was shown the door. ‘‘Madge’’ Maguire has not talked to him since the day he was replaced.
Seibold has the best set-up in the NRL and he needs to deliver ina hurry.
Teddy for Wehbe
The fallout continues from the split between Isaac Moses and the ‘‘football whisperer’’ Joe Wehbe.
We told you last week that James Tedesco is now firmly in Wehbe’s camp and wants nothing to do with Moses. He is now going public with his support for Wehbe. Asked if he was in Wehbe’s corner he said: ‘‘Yeah, definitely. He has been a big part in my career and I owe a lot to him.’’
Other players who now have strained relationships with Moses include Israel Folau, Parramatta’s Tim Mannah and Nathan Brown, and rising star Joseph Suaalii – a young rugby player who has signed with South Sydney until 2021.
Folau has largely gone alone in his preparation for his battle with Rugby Australia.
Moses has been busy trying to shore up other clients as he knows his empire is under threat. It is understood Moses has been ringing family members of the clients who are looking to jump ship.
The whole situation is messy and it’s threatening to get messier. Moses has friends in the highest of places: one of his best mates is NRL boss Todd Greenberg.
Their families are firm friends.
If the Knights want to start talking to Kalyn Ponga about an extension to his contract, they may have to cool their heels for a couple of months at least. The view is that he wants to talk after Origin.
Ponga is in the second year of a four-year contract.
There have been no approaches from rugby union, nor in an early discussion did the Knights indicate they want to do a long-term deal.
Api on the move
Manly may be prepared to let Api Koroisau go. He has given the club great service but it would appear the Eagles have found a No.9 in Manase Fainu.
It’s one to keep an eye on.
Danny Weidler is a sport columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.