The Rabbitohs have a big contract headache on their hands with three marquee stars set to come off-contract — and a former coach is set to swoop in with a bid for a veteran star.
Fullback Latrell Mitchell, playmaker Cody Walker and dummy-half Damien Cook are all set to negotiate regarding contract extensions, sparking a “balancing act” in the Redfern club’s salary cap.
The trio could command hefty pay packets, while Walker and Mitchell are “intertwined” and play their best football alongside each other.
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The pair are also represented by the same management.
“I am hearing out of Souths that a lot of their stars are off-contract at the same time, going to be hard to fit them all in,” NRL360 host Braith Anasta said.
“They have started talks with Latrell, very early stages but they obviously want to keep him, they are talking like a two or three year deal,” The Australia’s Brent Read said.
“But obviously him and Cody are intertwined a little bit, they are under the same management, last time they did the deals they aligned the deals.”
Walker previously signed a two-year deal in 2019 worth a reported $1.3 million before inking a one-year extension, meanwhile Mitchell reportedly signed a two-year extension worth upwards of $800,000-a-season in 2021.
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But, following Adam Reynolds Rabbitohs exit, it appears unlikely the club will offer Walker a long-term deal due to his age.
Meanwhile, Mitchell will be the club’s No.1 priority with his best years yet to come.
“I would have thought the issue they might have is Cody is in his early 30s now, Latrell is in his mid 20s,” Read said.
“That is going to be their issue, I’d imagine they want to tie Latrell down for three or four years if they can… realistically you only want to give Cody two years at this stage of his career.”
“The problem with that with a deal going ahead is Cody is such a different player with Latrell in the side,” NRL360 co-host Paul Kent said.
“It is smart management but poor management from Souths because they get dragged into it.”
“That is a good point, because they are so good together the management is leveraging that as you would, it is quite a smart play,” Anasta said.
Fox League’s James Hooper explained that Mitchell is clearly thriving in Redfern and tips him to remain with the Rabbitohs — before dropping a big hint regarding Wayne Bennet’s ploy to lure Damien Cook to the Dolphins.
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“The good thing about Latrell is he doesn’t want to go, you can see how much he loves South Sydney,” Read said.
“I hope he doesn’t go anywhere Ready, since he has shifted to Redfern it suits him down to the ground, he bleeds red and green now you can see how much he means to that team and how much he does in in the community,” Hooper said.
“In relation to Damien Cook they have a real balancing act on their hands because Damien Cook is still signed for next season but he wants another three years on top of that,”
“So I think the club will probably try and offer two years with the perspective of keeping him around the club.”
“Peter Mamouzelos there too, good young gun,” Anasta said.
“There was a little bit of a tip today that the Dolphins might be having a look at Damien Cook, they are obviously still trying to find key position players,” Hooper said.
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