After a bitterly ending contract saga saw NRL gun Latrell Mitchell leave the Sydney Roosters, the young player has now signed a deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Announcing his departure from the Roosters last week via his Instagram, the Rabbitohs wasted no time in securing a deal with the young star.
Initially a one-year deal, Mitchell’s new contract could see him upgraded to a second season should the Rabbitohs approve this part of the deal by the end of June.
Mitchell, 22, will pocket approximately $600,000 for his first season with South Sydney in addition to the $117,000 the Roosters paid Mitchell since November.
The Roosters have since backed down on the demand for reimbursement of Mitchell’s pay from the last two months.
A centre for the Roosters, the option of playing fullback for the Rabbitohs has been flagged with Mitchell, who is reportedly excited about the opportunity.
“I’d say this is the best decision I’ve made in my career by far. I’ve seen the success [Wayne Bennett has] had in his career, and I wanted to see where he could take my footy – as a coach,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell will start training at Redfern on Tuesday with mentor, Greg Inglis, and new coach, Wayne Bennett.
With the Roosters and Rabbitohs being notorious rivals, Mitchell’s move to South Sydney promises extra bite when the two teams meet for the first time in Round 3 of the 2020 season.
The question of Mitchell’s contract was on everybody’s lips throughout the off-season, with a particularly lucrative deal being pitched to the young player from the West Tigers.
Offering a four-year, $4 million contract, the money wasn’t enough to woo Mitchell, who said family was a key aspect of his decision-making.
“[It’s] not all about the money everyone made it out to be,” Mitchell said of the Tigers deal.
“The family side of it, from Cody [Walker] and Jimmy [Roberts] and the way they treat their families was the biggest thing I looked at.”
Bids for the coveted young player began heating up when the Roosters withdrew their 2021 offer to Mitchell early November 2019.
“Latrell has expressed that he would like to explore his options for season 2021, however he remains under contract with the Roosters for season 2020,” a statement from the Sydney club said in November.
The deal was reportedly worth approximately $800,000 a year.
During the lengthy contract battle, the Roosters announced Mitchell, 22, would be granted a leave of absence from pre-season training.
As Mitchell became a free agent, many clubs threw their hats in the ring to see if they could secure the talented young player.
Offers were proposed and withdrawn from both the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the West Tigers, with the Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys also showing interest before Mitchell signed with South Sydney on Monday.
The Souths are gearing up for a stellar line up as the club looks to bring in the Gold Coast Titans’ Jai Arrow as early as the 2020 season.
Last week the club announced Arrow would join South Sydney in 2021 on a four-year contract.
The Gold Coast and South Sydney are now in ongoing negotiations for an early release on Arrow’s contract, however the Titans have reportedly rejected at least one player swap put forward by the Rabbitohs.
By Hannah Cross