Latrell set to announce bombshell Bunnies news
It is the news that South Sydney fans have been waiting all summer to hear.
Superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell will finalise his future this week to put to bed any fears about it becoming an off-field distraction that could derail the Rabbitohs' premiership aspirations.
Mitchell is expected to announce a new two-year deal worth about $850,000-a-season ahead of this week's Charity Shield clash against St George Illawarra.
It will keep the 23-year-old at the Bunnies until the end of 2023.
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And it will be welcomed by all at the club given how fit and impressive Mitchell looked in his return from injury in Saturday night's All Stars clash in Townsville.
It was his first real hitout since suffering an awful hamstring injury that cut short his season in round 16 last year.
Mitchell looked as fit as he has in a long time, while he also looked extremely dangerous. He played more than 60 minutes across two stints.
"I didn't think I was gonna play that long but I got through it and had a lot more confidence in that back-end last 20," he said. "I honestly can't wait for 2021.
"The fitness was good, too. My match fitness was a bit better than I thought it was going to be considering I've been out for a long time."
His performance at fullback and left centre for the Indigenous team led Braith Anasta to say that Mitchell must be back in Brad Fittler's NSW plans this year.
"I think he comes back into that fold and they really need him in there," Anasta told Fox League.
"Latrell is one of the most talented, if not the most talented, and skilful player in the competition when he is at his best.
"And I think we need him in that NSW side (at left centre). He is not going to play fullback because (James) Tedesco is fullback."
Mitchell's combination with Cody Walker and especially Alex Johnston would also have had Souths fans salivating about the potential of their left edge.
However, the concern for weeks has been about a contract stand-off dragging on to the point where it could cause a disruption to the team, like it did last year.
But with the work on his new deal all but complete, what Saturday night also told us was that with Mitchell firing the Rabbitohs are going to be a force.
Cooper Cronk said the recruitment of Josh Mansour from Penrith was also huge.
"It allows Latrell and Alex Johnston not to be the metre-eaters out of the back of the field,'' Cronk said. "Mansour gets 200m every game. I think that's a great addition."
Cronk also made the point that if the Bunnies didn't win the competition this year, they might be in trouble when Wayne Bennett left.
"The Bunnies are cherry ripe for the premiership," Cronk said.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on because if Wayne Bennett leaves he doesn't have a great history of leaving clubs in good stead after he is gone.
"So for me this is the only year Souths can win it."
Cronk's concern relates to the fact the Bunnies have lost their past three preliminary finals and just can't afford for this year to end with the same heartbreak.
"If (Damien) Cook, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker (don't get Souths into the grand final), that will mean they will have failed in four prelim finals and that is quite scary," Cronk said.
"That can haunt players."
Originally published as Latrell set to announce bombshell Bunnies news