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Opinion

Bad advice? Too many cooks? Or maybe Latrell just needs to man up

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Editor
30th November, 2019
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6348 Reads

Latrell wants more. Money.

Yeah, more money.

More money from where?

Just more money y’know. Latrell doesn’t get enough money. Other players have lots of money – he wants, he wants some of that money!

I dunno, maybe the rumours about Latrell Mitchell are true.

Not the ones about him heading to Souths – and certainly not the ones about him joining rugby.

No, the stories about the young superstar having the wrong people in his ear are the ones that appear to be on the mark.

Because at the moment, the only live offer for the best centre in the NRL is from the Gold Coast Titans.

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Kid’s a gun footy player, but he’s shit at doing a deal if the only club interested in him is the reigning wooden spooners.

It’s been a rollercoaster year for the Taree tyro.

He turned in perhaps the most dominant performance of the entire season in putting 26 points on the Tigers in May, which ignited the stories that he was ready to get all ‘Canada on strike’ with the Roosters.

He had a crap game for NSW in Origin 1 and got dropped.

He won a second successive premiership with the Roosters and was named Dally M Centre of the Year.

He retained his spot in a Kangaroos side which was beaten by a Tier 2 nation for the first time in ever and was singled out by none other than Blues coach Brad Fittler for “soft options”.

He took his services to the open market – as he was more than entitled to do – after deciding his club’s offer of $800K a year wasn’t enough.

And since then, the people who were interested in signing him have said…

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• Rabbitohs general manager Shane Richardson “We haven’t got any interest in Latrell Mitchell.”
• Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill: “We won’t pursue an interest in Latrell Mitchell.”
• Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe: “There was genuine interest there and still may be, but the timeframes meant we need to move forward.”
• Cowboys football manager Peter Parr: “He’s up in the top echelon of players in the competition, he showed some interest in our club, we thought we would be mad not to talk to him but…”

Ooh Trell, that’s a lot of interest. Bit like potential – it’s nice to have it, but doesn’t mean much if you don’t convert it into something tangible.

As for his current club, coach Trent Robinson has put a line through 2019’s top point-scorer being at Bondi long term, saying “We’ve got to move on.”

And the Tricolours have moved on, locking up the services of Joey Manu (who, just quietly, may have less talent but is a more complete and consistent player than Mitchell), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

At least one of those blokes – probably two – are now taking up money that Nick Politis had previously earmarked for Mitchell’s future.

He’s got a contract for next year, so there’s a chance he’ll play there in 2020, but Mitchell is on borrowed time at the Chooks.

Latrell Mitchell

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

So what to do?

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The bloke is absolutely worth $1 million a year. He may drift in and out of games, but he puts bums on seats and in business – even the business of rugby league – making money is the most important thing.

But what did he do when offered the money he desired? He dragged his feet.

Like, really? Someone says you can have exactly what you want and you say, “I’ll get back to you at some stage.”

The narrative surrounding Mitchell’s failure to act and thus the pulling of any viable offer – the Titans aren’t viable and Rugby Australia is a bigger shambles than the Gold Coast club, so neither are viable – is that he’s getting bad advice from unidentified people.

Here’s an idea: tell everyone to rack off.

Footy players love to wheel out the line “I’ll leave it to my manager”, but ultimately it’s their career.

Mitchell might have a bunch of people telling him what to do, but he’s holding the pen. He’s the one who has decided not to sign a contract.

Sure, he’s only 22. I was a total and complete idiot at that age, who had no idea (I’ve got like half an idea now – many, many years later).

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But he’s old enough to man up and take control of his future.

Which means if he’s left playing reggies for North Sydney next year when he could have been playing fullback on a seven-figure salary, it’s his fault.