Several former NRL stars, notably NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, have urged Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell to consider staying put as his contract negotiations continue.
The Roosters withdrew a lucrative contract extension that would have covered the 2021 and 2022 seasons earlier this week, reportedly costing Mitchell more than $1.5 million.
Mitchell’s contract negotiations have become one of the biggest storylines of the off-season, after a mixed NRL season saw Fittler drop him from the State of Origin team, but finish the season with his second premiership with the Roosters.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Fittler said it was in Mitchell’s best interest for him to remain in Sydney, rather than pursue his options with other clubs.
“I hope he stays at the Roosters,” he said.
“If you look at his season with his club, you’d have to call it a success.
“He won his team a premiership with that last pass in the grand final and now he’s won two premierships there.”
Mitchell has drawn interest from several clubs, notably Wests Tigers, the Canterbury Bulldogs and North Queensland.
Fittler wasn’t the only Blues great to suggest Mitchell should stay put - Laurie Daley told the Herald a switch to a new club would only intensify the significant pressure Mitchell found himself under last season.
There were concerns for Mitchell’s welfare after he was dropped from the Blues, with Daley arguing switching clubs would keep Mitchell firmly in the spotlight.
“I just think where Latrell is at the moment, he’s better off to stay at the Roosters, in that system,” Daley said.
“And then, in two or three years’ time, he’s still only 25 years of age...then if he wanted to take the money, take it.”
Johnathan Thurston also weighed in on Mitchell’s contract situation.
The former North Queensland Cowboys superstar said it made the most sense for Mitchell to remain in the harbour city because only the Roosters would allow him to compete for a premiership every season.
“When I was doing contract negotiations, you stay at home for less because you want to get a good team around you,” Thurston said.
“Obviously teams and clubs are going to throw big money at him like they are, but will he have the same success if he leaves the Roosters? Well that remains to be seen.”