Newcastle’s Adam O’Brien has suggested that the Knights will be in contention to sign in-demand Latrell Mitchell after he revealed an interest in a move to North Queensland.
The Roosters withdrew their contract extension offer for 2021 and beyond after the 22-year-old wanted to explore his options instead.
O’Brien worked with the youngster in 2019 as the Roosters’ attack coach and stated that every club would be interested in taking him.
“I think any team in the comp would be lying if they [said they] wouldn’t be interested in him, but the salary cap … is the biggest variable in this,” he said.
“I connected really well with Latrell but having said that there’s a lot of things to get through in terms of our own (players).”
“I’m really reluctant to talk publicly. A lot of our recruitment and retention will be done in-house.”
One club now admitting interest is North Queensland after The Courier Mail revealed that a close associate of the player has contacted them to outline the player’s interest in a move.
A formal offer is yet to be made by the Cowboys but they are reportedly considering their salary cap. They had set aside some money to sign Valentine Holmes, currently playing for the New York Jets in the NFL, but admit they can’t sign both.
The Cowboys also have a link to Mitchell through their football-operations chief Peter Parr who has been the manager for the NSW Origins team and worked with Mitchell for two years.
Former Cowboys centre Brent Tate suggested that the North Queensland atmosphere would be perfect for Mitchell.
“The Cowboys would be a great fit for Latrell if he is keen to be there,” Tate said.
“Latrell has a young family and for an NRL player looking for that life balance, the Cowboys tick all the boxes.”
“Latrell has copped a lot of criticism for such a young bloke and the media scrutiny in Townsville is certainly not at the level of what he would face in the fishbowl of Sydney.”
Canterbury-Bankstown, South Sydney and Wests Tigers make up several more teams preparing bids for the centre that could be around $1 million per season.
An Instagram post from the star on Tuesday night made no apologies for his asking price.
“I’ll do what’s right for my family & I. Now I have the responsibility of giving my kids a life I didn’t have!!” he said.