Cowboys shut the door on Latrell
Latrell Mitchell's options in the NRL are drying up with the Cowboys becoming the latest potential suitor to baulk at the prospect of signing the NSW Origin sensation.
Cowboys football-operations chief Peter Parr told The Sunday Mail North Queensland have no interest in a bidding war and will not release players, including hooker Jake Granville, to fund Mitchell's arrival in Townsville.
Just a fortnight ago, Mitchell was seen meeting with Cowboys bosses, including Parr and chairman Laurence Lancini, fuelling speculation the Kangaroos Test ace is seriously considering a move to North Queensland.
But having since secured Valentine Holmes to a six-year deal, Parr admits the Cowboys will not risk breaching salary-cap rules to snare the powerhouse centre likened in style to retired Maroons legend Greg Inglis.
Parr said the Cowboys are at long odds to table a formal offer for Mitchell, leaving Queensland rivals the Titans as a primary contender for his signature following the withdrawal of the Wests Tigers.
"We have not made an offer to Latrell and to be honest I don't think we will be in a position to make an offer," Parr said on Saturday.
"We will continue to monitor the situation but that's about it.
"Latrell is due to start training with the Roosters on January 6, I believe, so we're only a small player in this whole episode.
"Something dramatic would have to happen for Latrell to be here, I just can't see it happening at all."
While Mitchell has been linked with $1 million deals, an NRL rival could secure him for considerably less next season, particularly if the Roosters are prepared to subsidise a severance package.
Given the NRL's annual contracting period starts on November 1, the Roosters could contribute at least $100,000 in a Mitchell transfer for 2020, although the Titans have major salary cap pressures next year.
Speculation is rife that the Cowboys would be prepared to offload Granville to clear funds under the salary cap to sign Mitchell, but Parr is adamant he and Lancini will not destabilise the club.
"I can tell you this - we won't be getting into any bidding wars and we certainly won't be releasing players to try and sign Latrell," Parr said.
"Culturally, we are very happy with the people we have here and Valentine Holmes has already brought a buzz to the place since his arrival.
"There's no doubt Latrell is a talented player, but we're not going to move heaven and earth to get him.
"We're not perturbed if we miss out on Latrell Mitchell."
The Mitchell saga took another twist on Saturday following reports Rugby Australia have been sounded out about a code switch for the premiership-winning 22-year-old.
The Titans remain interested in securing Mitchell from 2021 with Gold Coast culture chief Mal Meninga keen to meet with the Taree flyer, possibly as early as this week.
"I want to know what Latrell wants to make him happy and how he can deliver consistent performances for the Titans," Meninga said.