Wests Tigers call Latrell Mitchell’s bluff
Wests Tigers withdrew their rich offer for Latrell Mitchell last week but club chairman Lee Hagipantelis has now declared: "Never say never."
While Wests Tigers won't reopen negotiations, Hagipantelis said they would be prepared to talk if Mitchell approached them.
The Tigers have the money and salary cap space to sign Mitchell from next season but have moved on from the Kangaroos star … for now.
"(Wests Tigers CEO) Justin Pascoe said the other day that the offer has been formally withdrawn and the club has moved on," Hagipantelis said.
"But it would be remiss of any club not to entertain discussions if we were approached by Latrell. If he came to us, we would have to listen to what he had to say.
"It would be silly to say that door is permanently closed. I don't think anyone would say the door has been nailed shut. We wouldn't shut ourselves off to any opportunities.
"If Latrell came to us and said he would like to chat, we would chat. As I say, never say never. Latrell's destiny is in his hands entirely."
Gold Coast remain committed to signing Mitchell, while Wests Tigers and North Queensland are carefully monitoring any developments. Rugby Australia won't be offering him a contract.
Mitchell is still signed with Sydney Roosters for next season but is highly unlikely to be at Bondi next season.
"The difficulty is this is a very active player market at the moment and other opportunities are presenting themselves," Hagipantelis said.
"If an opportunity presents itself, and the Tigers believe it's in the best interests of the club, then we will take that opportunity.
"Contract negotiations are a delicate thing but people need certainty.
"I'm not imposing any time limits or deadlines but we are actively in the market again and considering our options.
"There were negotiations (with Mitchell), there were discussions. They have ended and now we're looking at other possibilities."
Hagipantelis said Mitchell needed to escape the pressure and scrutiny to reach his final decision.
"I think the kid just needs a bit of space and a bit of time," he said. "He needs as much certainty as the club does.
"He may or may not have other options available to him. But he will take his time, consider his options and decide what is best for him and his family. I have to respect him for that."
North Queensland haven't lodged an offer for Mitchell but, like Wests Tigers, their interest would be rekindled if he was genuine about a move to Townsville.
Mitchell had been promised a three-year, $3 million deal with Wests Tigers which included a guarantee to play at fullback.