Brad Fittler remains hopeful that Latrell Mitchell will remain in Sydney, while several board members are believed to think the flashy centre has played his final match for the Roosters.
Mitchell’s signature is the most talked-about topic of the off-season, with his future with the two-time reigning premiers is in doubt after the Roosters retracted their two-year $1.6 million contract from the 2021 season.
The Tigers, Bulldogs and Cowboys have all shown a strong level of interest in Mitchell while Fittler believes his best option is to remain in Bondi.
“I hope he stays at the Roosters,” Fittler told the Herald. “It’s a great club and he’s already won two premierships there. I hope he stays with them.”
While Fittler urges Mitchell to remain with the Tri-colours, the Herald has found that members of the Roosters board already believe that Sydney’s grand final victory over the Raiders will be his last game with the club.
The NSW Origin coach – who did not want to discuss Mitchell’s omission from the Blues’ Origin II and III squad – labelled the centre’s season at club level a flying success.
If you look at his season with his club, you’d have to call it a success,” he said. “He won his team a premiership with that last pass in the grand final and now he’s won two premierships there. Personally, I wish him all the best.”
Teammates of Mitchell’s from both Sydney and the NSW camp have looked to check-in on the stars welfare over the off-season, according to the Herald.
Former NSW coach Laurie Daley joins Fittler in hoping Mitchell remains in the red, white and blue, with Daley publicly throwing his support behind the Roosters star during a difficult season off the field.
“That could put more pressure on him,” Daley said on his radio show, The Big Sports Breakfast.
“Everyone responds differently to different situations and if you’ve got a guy that’s got plenty of talent that can lift other people and inspire other people, that would be a good move.
“I just think where Latrell is at the moment, he’s better off to stay at the Roosters, in that system. And then, in two or three years’ time … he’s still only 25 years of age … then if he wanted to take the money, take it.”
Both Wests and Canterbury remain the best suitors for Mitchell if his relationship with the Roosters fails to make a mend.
A move to North Queensland remains unlikely despite the Cowboys strong interest, as Mitchell would be most comfortable closer to Taree where he receives personal support.
Tigers coach Michael Maguire did not shy away from answering questions surrounding his sides pursuit for Mitchell.
“You look at every player, that’s my job to make sure that you look at potentials and what could be in your team, so in time we will work through those sorts of things,” Maguire said.
“As a coach it’s my duty and [as] an organisation we have got to look at whatever is available at that moment in time, and also too can it actually fit in your [salary] cap?”
The Tigers and Cowboys both hold the $1 million cap space that would exercise interest from Mitchell and his management, with a seven-figure salary likely meaning the end to his tenure with the Roosters.