Latrell Mitchell had talks with the Broncos when 12 NRL clubs competed for the South Sydney Superstar’s signature.
News Corp can reveal Mitchell was offered to the Broncos, with Brisbane coach Kevin Walters having preliminary discussions with the management of the most sought-after player in the NRL.
It can also be noted that Mitchell turned down a three-year extension of the Rabbitohs for $ 2.4 million.
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The NSW Origin ace is looking for a shorter-term deal, leading to a revamped strategic approach by the Rabbitohs, who remain confident of keeping Mitchell on a one- or two-year deal.
But the contractual Argy-Bargy has opened the door to a number of NRL rivals led by the Broncos. Club Mitchell almost grew up in Taree when he was 16.
Mitchell is out of contract at the end of the season and the Broncos are one of the NRL’s most paid-out clubs under the salary cap. They have a $ 5 million war chest as 13 top liners like Anthony Milford and Alex Glenn battle for new deals for 2022.
The Rabbitohs are hoping to announce Mitchell’s retention over the next fortnight, but that hasn’t stopped the 23-year-old from considering all options, including dialogue with the Broncos bosses just before Christmas.
« I can confirm we’ve had some conversations with the Broncos, » said a spokesman for Mitchell’s management team.
« At this point, despite reports that Latrell has closed a deal with Souths, we haven’t closed anything.
« Souths tried to put together a deal that would reflect Latrell’s market value, but we made it clear that we were not looking for a long-term deal.
« We prefer Latrell to sign a one- or two-year contract, but we have not yet committed to a contract with Souths so Latrell will continue to examine his options. »
As a teenager, he explored the Broncos setup in 2013 and met up with then-Brisbane stars Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges to enroll at Wavell High. Brisbane School’s NRL legend Greg Inglis attended when he was 17.
Mitchell eventually joined the Sydney Roosters as his family in Taree is closer together compared to living in Queensland.
The Broncos have lacked a decisive full-back for the past three seasons but they may struggle to afford Mitchell as they try to fend off poaching attacks for the non-contract strike center Kotoni Staggs.
« If we can’t make a deal with Souths, there’s real interest in the Broncos, » said Mitchell’s agent.
« They’re one of the biggest brands in the game and Latrell almost joined them as a teenager.
« If you’re not at the top of the NRL, you’re a sleeping giant and it’s only a matter of time before you get back on your feet. The Broncos are arguably the biggest brand in Australian sport. »
« We’ve had expressions of interest from almost every club in the game. Now we’ll see where things end up. »
« Our recruiting and retention committee has decided not to discuss possible signings, » said Walters.
South manager Wayne Bennett is confident Mitchell will remain loyal to arch-rivals The Roosters after arriving at the Rabbitohs last season.
« Latrell is happy in Souths and we are very happy with him. We hope he stays, » he said.
« We’re still negotiating but I hope he stays. Latrell is great at the club. »
As if not enough pressure had been put on him to perform in 2021, Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford was knocked down by serious injuries during practice.
It was a three-game series of tests that Australia was keen to continue, but in the end it was just too difficult to keep the players safe in South Africa.
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