Latrell Mitchell ‘kick in the teeth’ comes to light amid withdrawn David Fifita Sydney Roosters offer

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If you’re sitting down with Nick Politis to negotiate over brunch, better know he likes his eggs fried and his signatures dry.

And make sure you’re not a single second late to the table either, otherwise you’ll have burned half your cooling-off period.

Yep, it’s commonly accepted the Roosters are a bunch of commercial carnivores who treat the boardroom like a jugular.

But their cold abandonment of the David Fifita deal this week was hair-trigger savagery that would make the African savannah wince.

By kyboshing the marriage before it began, Politis provided a chastening reminder of why he owns the record as the least double-crossed boss in the NRL.

It also reiterated if you want to enter talks with the juggernaut, bring your table manners or the only image of you in club colours will be the dodgy photoshop job on the breaking news.

They say Politis runs the Roosters like he’s a mafia boss, but that’s probably unfair.

He’s way more impatient than that, so much even Bugsy Siegel himself would urge him to “take a breath” and “sleep on it”.

It was only last week Fifita was 99% sealed as a Rooster for 2024 after signing a deal trumpeted as the most audit-worthy of all time.

But when the backrower dilly-dallied at the midnight hour, the foundations of the deal began to wobble.

The reasons for Fifita wavering remain unclear, but it was rumoured to do with family, career development, and because the Titans CEO buys his family biscuits.

Either way, Politis responded with the restraint of a labrador in a Cheezel factory by withdrawing the offer before the Titan could barely utter “second thoughts”.

Divorces these rapid make Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman look like soulmates- but Politis wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.

Sure, for every Sonny-Bill Williams and Cooper Cronk at the Roosters there’s been a Dane Gagai and Shaun Johnson.

But when you conduct your business with the subtlety of a pneumatic hammer like Politis, you sleep soundly knowing you’ll either get your man, or that man’s dead to you.

The Rooster boss can open his arms as widely as his wallet, but he’ll snap them shut faster than a bear trap if the process isn’t smoother than his premium Mulberry silk sheets.

Put simply, when he offers you 24 hours he means 12, and if you start screening calls and leaving his texts on ‘seen’ then you can shove your charming Greek statements and get the hell out of his visitors parking spot.

Who could forget Latrell Mitchell’s harmonious stay at the Chooks prolapsing like an exploded frankfurt over a simple contract extension?

The Taree product was the hottest centre in the competition at the time, a gravitas the Roosters were prepared to reward by making him the highest paid centre in the league with an offer of $800,000 per year.

But when Politis caught wind of Mitchell chasing cheddar with other clubs, the one-year extension on the table was revised to a one-minute evacuation – and by January he’d been unemotionally deposed.

A devastated Mitchell summed up the brutal play by the Roosters by describing it as a “kick in the teeth”.

“I said to Trent, ‘look, I want to go and explore my options, is that alright?’ and he’s like ‘mate, you’re entitled to it’. That’s where it ended, pretty much and that’s all I took out of it,” Mitchell told NRL.com in 2019.

“I said righto, well then I’m going to go see. Then I went to pub that day, having a beer here and there, and then see the Roosters pull out of Latrell Mitchell’s deal and I was like that’s a kick in the teeth.

“I will have a yarn with him and Nick when I get back. You can’t just sit back like little kids anymore. It’s money we’re talking about, it’s life after footy we’re talking about, I don’t want to muck that up for myself because people are in my way.

“I’m going to get mine and do what I gotta do for my family and if that’s at the Roosters, then I’ll stay and cherish the jumper like I always have and I always will no matter where I go, if I go anywhere.”

It just proves that while there’s a litany of premium trimmings that come with joining the Roosters – money, premierships, and money – be certain your words are oak or you could get ‘Politisised’.

But of course, the Roosters chairman isn’t a complete curmudgeon.

He’s got the heart to tolerate an off-day on the paddock – or even getting caught in an uncompromising position with a dog – but he won’t cop capers at deal time.

Luckily though, there will be no major casualties from this Fifita backflip.

In fact, we will ultimately look back upon the ordeal as a win-win for everybody involved.

The Titans get to keep Fifita and his perpetually itchy feet, while the Roosters can now offer Angus Crichton the extension he deserves.

Which is terrific, because after defiantly declaring he was “not going to stand behind anybody” when Fifita arrived, the in-form backrower has been as grumpy as Politis himself.

Luckily now the Roosters can retain him, Sitili Tupouniua and all the other players they claimed they’d lose but were probably going to keep anyway, but at least now it’s guilt-free.

– Dane Eldridge is a warped cynic yearning for the glory days of rugby league, a time when the sponges were magic and the Mondays were mad. He’s never strapped on a boot in his life, and as such, should be taken with a grain of salt.

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