The Herald understands Doueihi stands to collect about $500,000 this year and even more in 2021. Souths do not have to move on any players to be salary cap compliant and it remains to be seen if they will pick up any of Doueihi’s tab should he leave.
Tigers boss Justin Pascoe told the Herald on Tuesday: “Having cap space at this time of year allows us the opportunity to be strategic and leverage off other clubs who might have challenges with their cap space.”
Bennett took one look at Mitchell train on Tuesday and was clearly convinced his star recruit would more than make the successful transition to fullback in just eight weeks.
Doueihi was initially told by Bennett he would be playing five-eighth, only for Cody Walker to sign a two-year extension in December. He was then informed by the supercoach he would be the starting fullback, only for Souths to the sign Mitchell.
“Some of the boys here have played some great football for us, but the end result is we couldn’t walk past the opportunity to take Latrell,” Bennett said on Monday. “This club is about success. We want to have the best team we possibly can here and we believe he [Mitchell] is going to add to what we already have.”
Doueihi’s best hope is securing a utility role off the bench, which he could easily do given his ability to play anywhere in the back line. A tall playmaker who impressed at fullback towards the end of last season, Doueihi would even start a few games during the Origin period with Dane Gagai a Queensland regular and Cody Walker and Mitchell a chance to earn a NSW Blues recall.
Such is the depth in the outside backs at Souths that it was easy to forget Bryson Goodwin had also returned to the club on a one-year deal.
Before he made his NRL debut under Maguire at Souths in 2018, Doueihi spoke glowingly about the coach and said: “Madge was pretty keen on me and he was probably the main reason why I did come here.”
The Tigers have three spots to fill on their roster, including two before the start of the season. They remain hopeful Parramatta will release teen prop Stefano Utoikamanu, who they have already signed from 2021.
Souths continue to hold out hope they can land their own front-rower, Jai Arrow, a year early from the Gold Coast. Should they land Arrow, the foundation club will be among the favourites to take the NRL title.
The Titans are open to granting Arrow an early release, but only if it is worth their while.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.