Phone call that could seal Latrell’s Tigers move
Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis and Wests Tigers counterpart Lee Hagipantelis have personally spoken about Latrell Mitchell in a sign the Concord club remains open to signing the Kangaroos star.
While Politis wasn't pushing or intervening in negotiations, Hagipantelis said he and the Roosters boss talked about Mitchell's "welfare" and "where his interests may be better served."
Mitchell remains under contract at Bondi for 2020 but the Roosters would grant him an immediate release if he secured another club.
"I have spoken to Nick but not about a deal. But I have spoken to Nick, yes, about what's in the kids' best interests. Nick has an interest in the matter," Hagipantelis told The Daily Telegraph.
"It was reported fairly accurately (in The Daily Telegraph) that Latrell had met with Nick and that he wouldn't be playing at the Roosters next season - I think that's fairly certain.
"I just had a general discussion with Nick about the kids' welfare and where his interests may be better served.
"It wouldn't be fair to say Nick is assisting in negotiations. He just rang me to let me know as a matter of professional courtesy that he had spoken with Latrell.
"Nick isn't intervening in the discussions or negotiations or anything along those lines. He is keeping us abreast as a matter of professional courtesy, for which we were very appreciative."
Wests Tigers have formally withdrawn their offer but Hagipantelis conceded his club still had an "interest": in Mitchell.
"There is interest on our part, that's true, and at this moment, as you and I are speaking, there is interest on our part in progressing discussions if they were available but they would have to be progressed by Latrell and his management," he said.
"But at the moment the ball is squarely in Latrell's court, it's entirely a matter for him at the moment.
"There is no progress or developments, nothing to comment on whatsoever but that's not to say the lines of communication have ever been closed.
"At the moment we are not pursuing any discussions with Latrell whatsoever. But if Latrell came to us and wished to open discussions then we would be receptive.
"But I have also said we are actively in the market at the moment so we will consider all opportunities that present themselves to us. We have interest in any quality player."
Gold Coast remains a player in the chase for Mitchell, who doesn't appear in any rush to nail down a new deal.
Though clubs would prefer their final squad numbers settled by early New Year, at the latest.
"Latrell has pressure on him at the moment and I think he is getting a lot of advice. He is taking time to decide what is best for him and his family, which is fair enough,"
"But there are pressures on all of us and the commercial reality dictates that we are well into the pre-season and there is a commercial reality that all clubs must face in terms of finalising their rosters and finding some level of certainty.
"Moving forward, before you know it, it will be the Christmas break and we will be in January considering trials in February. The season gets upon us very quickly."