The Rabbitohs have locked away star fullback Latrell Mitchell until the end of the 2023 season, with South Sydney confirming the deal on Monday.
Off the back of an impressive return to the field during Saturday's All-Star match, Mitchell has signed a new deal worth a reported $850,000 per season.
The news will release plenty of angst from the Bunnies faithful, with many believing any ongoing contract speculation into the season would have hindered on the 23-year-old's 2021 campaign.
“I feel like we have a great squad of players here and top coaches and I’m really confident that we can achieve what we want to achieve in the coming seasons," Mitchell told the club website.
“It’s a special club and a special group of players and it means a lot to me and my family to represent South Sydney.
“The Members and the community have welcomed us and when they tell me they are proud to see me wearing their colours, it makes me feel proud to represent them.
“We want to create more history for this Club and its people and I can’t wait to be part of it.”
Mitchell returned from a season-ending hamstring injury with the Indigenous All-Stars in their 10-all draw with the Maori, playing 60 minutes and showing glimpses of his best football.
Cody Walker, Alex Johnston, Latrell Mitchell. What a powerful combo! Just need a beach sprinter ...#NRLAllStars
— Bunny Brethren (@BunnyBrethren) February 20, 2021
“I didn’t think I was gonna play that long but I got through it and had a lot more confidence in that back-end last 20,” Mitchell said, per The Daily Telegraph.
“I honestly can’t wait for 2021.
“The fitness was good, too. My match fitness was a bit better than I thought it was going to be considering I’ve been out for a long time.”
A full season under his belt, mixed with a plethora of Origin stars and new faces have strengthened Wayne Bennett's bid for the premiership.
Former Melbourne great Cooper Cronk believes the Rabbitohs are primed for the 2021 season.
“The Bunnies are cherry ripe for the premiership,” Cronk said.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on because if Wayne Bennett leaves he doesn’t have a great history of leaving clubs in good stead after he is gone.
“So for me this is the only year Souths can win it.
"It’s something special that we get to create every year" - Latrell Mitchell.
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) February 20, 2021
“If (Damien) Cook, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker (don’t get Souths into the grand final), that will mean they will have failed in four prelim finals and that is quite scary,” Cronk said.
“That can haunt players.”
Cronk does believe new winger Josh Mansour will add a great threat out wide for the Bunnies while also making those around him better on the field.
“It allows Latrell and Alex Johnston not to be the metre-eaters out of the back of the field,’’ Cronk said. “Mansour gets 200m every game. I think that’s a great addition.”