The Tigers, meanwhile, have stepped up their pursuit of Latrell. The joint-venture outfit has tabled a three-year deal from 2021, which will effectively become a four-year offer commencing next season once the Roosters officially grant him a release. Given the premiers are paying more than $14,000 a week to a player they no longer want, they are keen to get the NSW and Australian centre off their books.
In the next week or so we should be able to sit down with the Tigers and discuss their offer.
Latrell Mitchell’s manager Wade Rushton
“The Tigers have shown great interest and they have put forward an offer they want to discuss with us,” said Mitchell’s manager, Wade Rushton.
“In the next week or so we should be able to sit down with them and discuss their offer.”
The Tigers continue to reshape their roster with a number of key signings and re-signings. The club will soon announce the recruitment of Luciano Leilua to fill the void left by the departure of Ryan Matterson. The Dragons had at one point contemplated a Leilua-Matterson swap, although the latter instead returned to Parramatta.
The Tigers have exacted some revenge on the Eels with the signing of young gun Stefano Utoikamanu, who is expected to make his NRL debut next season. Utoikamanu has signed with the Tigers for three years from 2021, but they will accommodate him immediately if he is granted an early release. The Eels could lose another promising prospect in NSW under-18s star Trey Mooney,
who is being circled by Canberra.
The Tigers this week re-signed young centre Tommy Talau and have offered former Bulldogs and Raiders back Brad Abbey a train-and-trial contract for the summer.
The Tigers appear to be the only current suitor for Mitchell. North Queensland were interested but are confident Valentine Holmes will join them once he fulfils his commitments to NFL franchise New York Jets.
The man who prepared Holmes for his gridiron sojourn believes it is “unlikely” the cross-code star will remain in America next year, given the Jets could make wholesale coaching and rostering changes after an underwhelming season. Sutherland Seahawks gridiron team coach Peter Upham, who oversees the Shire Speed and Strength gym, said the odds were always stacked against Holmes making it in the NFL.
“The Jets have only won three games this year,” Upham said.
“Those coaches could all get fired very easily. It’s difficult to get any indication from anybody how any player is going.
“They haven’t been competitive for several seasons and they need a lot of consideration about what they want to do with their roster. They have more to worry about than whether to activate some Australian guy from a practice squad. It’s possible but unlikely.
“It’s a distraction. Maybe (signing Holmes) could be a good-news story to distract the fans and sponsors from the fact they are a 3-7 team right now.
“I haven’t heard anything to suggest he has reinvented the game from the practice squad at the Jets and that they want to keep him next year. I’d be a bit surprised.”
In other contract news, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves recommitted to the Roosters for a further three years, while Penrith joined St George Illawarra in the race for the signature of Cronulla’s Kurt Capewell.
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.