ballsy or just plain dumb?


Williams was on a $1 million a year, had already earned a pile of money playing for the All Blacks, and also enjoyed a fatherly relationship with chairman Nick Politis, who would help him with whatever he needed during and then after his career.

And he was SBW. Only a player in possession of that ability, physique, self-discipline and self-belief could pull it off.

Mitchell is not that player. Not yet.

If he suffers a serious injury, or dips dramatically in form, he will lose all bargaining power.

But that’s the scenario taking shape for the 22-year-old as his contract negotiations border on the ridiculous.

Reports exploded to life over the weekend about him being on the verge of finally doing a deal with Souths — where he has been tipped for weeks to eventually land — as he changes manager for the third time in eight months.

It’s a little more complicated than that, however. There are many more dominoes left to fall.

Mitchell’s accredited manager, Wayde Rushton, has been working out a pay-out with Mitchell’s unofficial manager, boxing promoter Matt Rose, and now it might happen.

Anyone with any vague knowledge of the Latrell saga is aware how Rose has effectively been acting as his agent for months — stretching back to May last year when Mitchell ended his relationship with his first manager, Steve Deacon.

Rushton has been trying to work out for weeks where he stands with Mitchell, without much luck let alone a return phone call.

He was seeking a $150,000 payout to get out of his management deal but was offered only $5000 just before Christmas. A settlement is expected to be reached by Tuesday.

But anyone who thinks Mitchell is a done deal at Redfern as soon as he switches from Rushton to Rose is getting ahead of themselves.

The priority for Souths head of football Shane Richardson is Jai Arrow.

Souths coach Wayne Bennett has been in contact with Rose directly, but suggestions that a deal with Mitchell is being pieced together behind Richardson’s back have been denied.

Souths wants Arrow a year earlier from the Gold Coast Titans after signing him just before Christmas on a four-year deal from 2021.

But the Titans are unlikely to let that happen unless the Storm release Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, who has signed with the Titans from 2021, or Souths can give them another player.

Dane Gagai’s name keeps getting mentioned but he has no intention of going to the Gold Coast, last year’s wooden-spooners.

If Arrow does end up coming to Souths early — as is eventually expected — it will leave the Rabbitohs with about $400,000 of salary cap space to accommodate Mitchell for one year.

The Roosters are prepared to pay some of his wage this year, but only so much.

“If anyone thinks we’re paying $400,000 for one of our players to play for South Sydney, they are kidding,” said one Rooster source familiar with the negotiations.

The longer the saga drags on, though, the more money the Roosters have to pay Mitchell, a player who is contracted until November but a player they no longer want.

They are also eyeing off Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr, who will be released from his Storm deal early on compassionate grounds but only on the condition of them getting a player of the same value as Addo-Carr, a NSW and Australian representative.

Meanwhile, the Roosters crank up preparations for their premiership defence when training resumes on Monday morning.

It remains unclear if Mitchell will be there, although it appears unlikely he will be walking through the crowd of fans on their way to the Test match at the SCG as the squad makes its way to Kippax Lake.

Mitchell can make whatever decision he wants about his future — but it’s unfortunate he won’t be there with them.

In time, in the right circumstances, he could be Sonny-esque.

In early November, he knocked back a $2.4 million, three-year extension with the Roosters, with a coach like Trent Robinson in his corner, playing on a left-edge that includes Luke Keary, Boyd Cordner and Daniel Tupou.

What was the best option for Latrell Mitchell? It was obvious then, and it’s even more so now.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading



Rugby

Related posts

Make a comment