Mitchell was in sublime touch in the weeks before he suffered a hamstring injury against Parramatta saw him miss the club’s finals campaign. Mitchell started the year off slowly but was beginning to justify the club’s faith in him to wear the No.1 jersey before he was struck down through injury.
The Rabbitohs paid around $600,000 for Mitchell in 2020, with the Roosters chipping in around $200,000 of his salary before he was released. The news is a huge boost for South Sydney ahead of what shapes as a crucial year for the club. Coach Wayne Bennett will finish up at the end of the year, while Adam Reynolds, Dane Gagai, Braidon Burns, Jaydn Su’A and Tevita Tatola are all off contract.
Like South Sydney, Penrith are also in the process of locking up their biggest stars. Centre Stephen Crichton has all but agreed to a three year extension. A similar deal awaits Luai, while the club is also in negotiations with Isaah Yeo.
Yeo and Nathan Cleary are the frontrunners to replace James Tamou as Penrith captain, with the Penrith lock set to be rewarded for his 2020 campaign with a significant increase in his extension with the club.
The Panthers are also considering signing Wests Tigers back Paul Momirovski in a deal which would potentially allow fullback Daine Laurie the opportunity to leave immediately and link up with the joint venture club.
Laurie has asked for a release from the final year of his deal with the Panthers but the club is adamant both he and Canterbury-bound Matt Burton will see out 2020 at Penrith. That could change, at least in the case of Laurie, if Penrith find a suitable replacement. Burton, a renowned five-eighth, is expected to start the year in the centres in place of Brent Naden.