Wests Tigers reportedly sign boom Parramatta prospect Stefano Utoikamanu
Utoikamanu is considered an NRL star in waiting and has reportedly pledged his long-term future to the Tigers.As first reported by NRL.com, the giant NSW under-20s forward has committed to the joint-venture club from the 2021 season.
Latrell Mitchell is considering a shock switch to rugby after his advisors sounded out Rugby Australia about the prospect of joining the 15-man game.
With his NRL options rapidly dwindling, the Herald can reveal an approach was made on behalf of Mitchell to RA to gauge whether there is interest in the NSW and Australian centre. The enquiry could be the first step towards a change of codes if rugby officials believe he is a genuine Wallabies prospect.
The Roosters and Tigers have pulled lucrative offers from the table that would have secured Mitchell’s long-term future.
Latrell Mitchell: Wests Tigers anxiously awaiting Sydney Roosters star’s next move
Mitchell met with Cowboys officials last week, but it now appears the Tigers and Titans are his two remaining suitors.Mitchell met with Cowboys officials in Townsville last week after a member of his entourage reportedly relayed the 22-year-old’s interest in playing for the club earlier this month.
The premiers want to get the 22-year-old off their books as soon as possible, despite the fact he is contracted for 2020. The Tigers also became frustrated after they felt their offer was being used as a fallback option.
In an online column he penned for SBS in May, dual international Timana Tahu said Mitchell should be a priority for Rugby Australia.
“For the next high-profile player that they wanna look at, throw big money at, I’d be looking at Latrell,” Tahu wrote.
“It'd be a massive loss for rugby league, but for rugby union, he'd bring a new audience, new sponsorship and help change the Wallabies.
“It's perfect timing because there are two or three years for him to get his game knowledge up … the next World Cup is in 2023
“In terms of his union success, I just see his kicking skills, as well as his passing skills, being valuable. He's tall, he’s fast, he’s big — he’s made for rugby union.
Mitchell to meet with Titans: Meninga
Mal Meninga has confirmed Gold Coast's interest in Latrell Mitchell, and made a vow to the Origin and Roosters star."I think I can offer that guidance but Latrell needs to work out what he wants to do in life," Meninga told the Daily Telegraph.
“In my opinion, if you were at Rugby Australia you should be doing everything you could to get him across …
“He could be a dominating centre in an Australian Super Rugby team, plus he would be an attribute for the Wallabies.
“I think his profile would bring a lot to the Wallabies too, on and off the field.”
The Tigers have stated they would consider returning to the negotiating table if Mitchell expressed a desire to join the club.
However, any offers from other teams would be contingent on contracted players being moved on. The Cowboys have already invested $6 million into Valentine Holmes to play fullback for the next six seasons, while the Titans would have to shed several big-money stars in order to come close to Mitchell’s asking price.
If Jai Arrow moves immediately to South Sydney, and the Rabbitohs are given salary cap dispensation for Sam Burgess’ retirement, an opening could occur at the Gold Coast.
Latrell Mitchell: Mal Meninga approach to have 'domino effect', says Mark Geyer
Meninga has stepped up the Titans’ bid to lure Mitchell to the Gold Coast in recent days.As first reported by News Limited, Meninga recently spoke to Mitchell about a move to the Glitter Strip next season.
Alternatively, South Sydney may opt to shift their focus from a forward acquisition to Mitchell to bolster their backline.
The Tigers have drawn up their own contingency plans after the Mitchell camp conceded an answer may not be provided before Christmas. The Tigers have attempted to distance themselves from Josh Addo-Carr after initially expressing an interest if he became available.
Addo-Carr met with the Storm in Sydney on Friday morning to discuss his future amid growing speculation he was keen to return to Sydney. Melbourne officials said they expected him to honour his two-year contract, while the NSW and Australian winger spoke to the club about his family situation.
The Sharks are prepared to pay some of Matt Moylan’s freight if he is prepared to shift to Wests Tigers, while other players of interest to the club include Anthony Milford, Scott Drinkwater, Zac Lomax and William Kennedy.
After previously paying "overs" for players past their prime, the Tigers are prepared to wait until a suitable marquee recruit becomes available.
NSW furious over Latrell racism claims .
Comments made by Latrell Mitchell have caused a massive stir with NRL and Blues league officials.Mitchell, speaking in a wide-ranging interview with NRL.com, raised racial discrimination concerns around the Blues State of Origin team.