The Roosters will table Mitchell a competitive contract extension of their own that would cement his place as one of the highest-paid players in the game. However, the premiers feel that if money is his main motivator, then the 22-year-old will be heading elsewhere as they aren’t prepared to splash as much cash as clubs such as Canterbury. Roosters powerbrokers hope the chance to remain at a club that is a consistent premiership contender will offset any salary sacrifice.
Roosters and NSW skipper Cordner said Robinson was best placed to get the best out of Mitchell.
“He definitely is, Robbo is a loyal man, he wears his heart on his sleeve, he understands Latrell and the person he is,” Cordner said.
“I’m sure Robbo, Nick [Politis] and the club have plans in place to keep him at the club.
“It’s eyebrow-raising stuff when you hear about the massive deal supposedly on offer for him.
“But Latrell knows how much we love him at the Roosters. I’ve spent a lot of time with him, I watched him debut, and I know he loves the club.
“He’s a Rooster. We want him there a long time.”
While Mitchell is a signing priority, the Roosters have several other players they need to retain. Siosiua Taukeiaho, Jake Friend, Joseph Manu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Nat Butcher all come off contract at the same time as Mitchell, meaning rivals can also pounce on them from November 1.
Mitchell hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks and it’s understood the Bulldogs’ interest is a contributing factor. Still, NSW coach Brad Fittler’s decision to axe him for State of Origin II came as a shock given his ability to single-handedly break open games.
The Bulldogs will have their salary cap in order in time to make a play for at least one marquee man for the 2021 season. It’s understood Mitchell headlines a hit list of potential recruits that also includes Manly’s Trbojevic brothers, Tom and Jake. The blue and whites had been hamstrung on the retention and recruitment front until the recent departures of Moses Mbye, Aaron Woods and David Klemmer. Their exits have created room to move for the 2021 season and beyond.
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.