Report: Latrell finds his new home
NRL star Latrell Mitchell will reportedly leave the Roosters and play for South Sydney in 2020, ending speculation about his future.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mitchell has "agreed to terms" with the Rabbitohs and may be at pre-season training as early as Monday.
The development comes after it was revealed this week Mitchell was scheduled to meet Souths coach Wayne Bennett to facilitate a move to the Roosters' fiercest rivals.
Stream over 50 sports live & anytime with KAYO on your TV, mobile, tablet or laptop. Just $25/month with no lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial
Per the Herald's report, finer details of the contract - which first needs to be given the green light by the NRL salary cap auditor - are still to be worked out. The Roosters have paid Mitchell more than $100,000 since November for this season but allegedly want to be reimbursed given the NSW representative is leaving early.
Mitchell was under contract with the tri-colours until the end of 2020 but the relationship between club and player deteriorated after the Roosters withdrew an offer worth $800,000 a season when the fleet-footed centre told them he wanted to explore other options.
Mitchell was due back at Roosters HQ last Monday for pre-season preparations but the Bondi club granted him a leave of absence, indicating the odds of him seeing out his contract had lengthened drastically.
The Bunnies had firmed as Mitchell's new home as other clubs like the Bulldogs, Cowboys and Wests Tigers pulled out of the running. Gold Coast was keen on luring the representative star to the glitter strip but talk of that move has cooled in recent times as a switch to Redfern appeared the most likely option.
After Christmas Bennett appeared to shut the door on Mitchell, telling the Courier Mail: "We won't be signing Latrell." But the master coach has a history of telling fibs when it comes to player recruitment, so that assertion wouldn't have carried much weight in rugby league land.
This year Bennett categorically denied Souths had any interest in Brisbane centre James Roberts, but surprise, surprise, the Blues star later signed with the Rabbitohs.
Already this summer Mitchell has been offered wildly different contract sums including more than $1 million per season from the Tigers to go with the Roosters' withdrawn offer. It's been reported Souths were considering a $400,000, one-year deal for the 22-year-old.
It's believed Souths' cut-price sum was due to limited space in the salary cap as their priority was to bring Queensland forward Jai Arrow to the club in 2020 as a replacement for the retired Sam Burgess.
However, the Bunnies' wish to have Arrow next season doesn't appear to have been granted. On Monday his four-year deal with the Rabbitohs was announced, starting in 2021, with Gold Coast reluctant to let its State of Origin star go for the upcoming season.
This could free up space in Souths' salary cap to sign Mitchell on a more substantial contract in 2020, allowing time for the club to offload another player to make room for him in 2021.
It's been reported both Alex Johnston and Dane Gagai could be offloaded to another NRL club.