Tigers hit road to Taree in pursuit of Latrell
Wests Tigers won't be sitting back any longer waiting for Latrell Mitchell to come to them.
Instead, coach Michael Maguire along with chief executive Justin Pascoe and general manager of football Adam Hartigan are about to embark on a road trip to Mitchell's home town of Taree.
The aim is to try to convince the young star why he should commit his future to a club that has the longest finals drought in the NRL.
The road trip north has been held up because of the recent bush fire crisis but sources on Thursday said it was now the next move in what are delicate negotiations.
It will not only be a chance for the Tigers to make their pitch to Mitchell but also his family.
They want to outline exactly why their club is the next best career move for a young player who right now is at the crossroads.
While Hartigan doesn't have a huge profile with the wider rugby league audience, he is seen as a key figure in the Tigers' favour given a strong past relationship with Mitchell at the Sydney Roosters in a coaching and recruitment capacity.
There has been speculation about how some board members at the Tigers have viewed Mitchell's potential signing as somewhat of a risk but it is understood Maguire and Pascoe have been driving the interest and are keen to make sure Mitchell knows he is a wanted man.
They believe Mitchell would be the biggest signing in the joint venture's history and a player capable of taking the squad to the next level.
The meeting would also give Maguire a chance to explain to Mitchell and his family why his coaching could help take the 22-year-old to the next stage of his career.
For all the negative knocks on Maguire for being too tough on players when it comes to training and his relentless pursuit of success, the fact is he has won premierships both in Australia with South Sydney and in England with Wigan, and he was also responsible for moving Greg Inglis from centre to fullback.
The Tigers see Mitchell as a player capable of making an immediate transition from centre to fullback and he would also be paid accordingly.
While the Roosters' offer was for $800,000 a season, the Tigers are expected to up that to in excess of $1 million a season.
If Mitchell plays to his enormous potential, he is worth every cent.
For a club struggling to get to that next stage of its own development, that is a gamble the Tigers are prepared to make so this deal can happen sooner rather than later.
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