Zac Lomax is set to sign the longest deal in St George Illawarra history after agreeing to a monster six-year contract.
The in-demand Lomax, 20, has rejected interest from a host of clubs, including Wests Tigers and Canberra, for a deal worth about $3 million in a massive show of faith for the struggling Dragons.
It is understood the final year of the multi-year deal is an option in Lomax’s favour.
The length of the contract is only matched in Dragons history by the one to land halfback Ben Hunt from Brisbane two years ago. Hunt’s original deal was five years and an option for a sixth.
Lomax was already contracted until the end of next season but was one of the most in-demand players in the competition having long been earmarked as a first grade star.
The interest in him comes despite the goalkicker having played just 17 top-grade games since making his NRL debut last year.
Lomax, whose partner Jessica Sergis is a star in her own right with the Dragons’ NRLW side, will have an opportunity to press ahead with his goal of being the club’s first-choice fullback.
While club officials are unsure whether Lomax’s long-term future is in the No.1 jersey or in the centres, Dragons coach Paul McGregor will give him first crack at fullback this year.
“It’s good that (McGregor has) got confidence in me,” Lomax said this week. “Hopefully, the playing group’s got confidence in me as well.
“I’ll make sure I try and get that from them by just showing them I can work hard and put in the effort on the training paddock so I get that respect.
“I think if you can bring a good work rate to the team and you bring effort and you compete on each play, I think that can go a long way as a fullback.
“You look at someone like Charzne Nicoll-Klokstad. He’s fresh to the NRL but you look at what he brought to his team week in, week out. He competed on everything.”
Lomax rose through Illawarra’s junior ranks, representing the Australian Schoolboys and under-18s NSW before being picked in the Prime Minister’s XIII side last year.
St George Illawarra’s two centres, Tim Lafai and Euan Aitken, are off contract at the end of the season.
With Lomax signed, the Dragons will now focus on retaining Kangaroos back-rower Tyson Frizell.
The contracts of Frizell, James Graham, Jacob Host, Mikaele Ravalawa and new recruit Issac Luke expire at the end of next year.
The Dragons’ latest signing Trent Merrin joined the side this week, while St George Illawarra are also pursuing Catalans outside back Brayden Wiliame.
Another terrible mistake by the Dragqueens, good player but still could be a dud, I’ll give him 3 yrs max and he’ll be looking to get out of his contract.
6yr contracts are really dumb
We need to do something. We can’t go into the season with the spine at present. We could be flirting with the bottom 4. We need a big injection from somewhere. LM is really the only one who can give it to us.
Agree with you 100%. Give LM what he wants and build the club around him. At this stage it is our only option. As you said, our spine at present is unacceptable.
I think what he wants is to not play for the Tigers.
What more could we have offered?
Considering our offer was more than anyone elses.
Mbye goes in to bat for ‘harshly criticised’ Latrell
Wed 4 Dec 2019, 03:02 PM
Latrell Mitchell had been treated shabbily in recent contract talks, according to Wests Tigers skipper Moses Mbye, as he was simply a young father and footballer trying to consolidate his future.
Whether that future is the Wests Tigers or not, Mbye and teammate Luke Garner don’t know. But as they delivered presents to children spending Christmas inside Liverpool Hospital, it brought home the value of family and good health.
“I think Latrell has been pretty harshly criticised,” Mbye said of the Roosters’ centre trying to sort out where he plays in 2020.
"He’s young and because he’s such a good player and done so much, people treat him like a 28 or 29-year-old when he’s just 22.
"He’s got a lot on his plate too with a family to look after… putting into perspective of having children and trying to get the ball going (career-wise) by having all these offers and this amount of money, when he’s come from very humble beginnings.
“In saying that, if I was advising him I’d tell him to look after himself and I think he’s done a really good job of handling the pressure and the criticism.”
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Take me back !!
A post shared by L a t r e l l M i t c h e l l (@iam_lm01) on Dec 3, 2019 at 5:17pm PST
Garner, who knew Mitchell from their days in the Roosters lower grades, is comfortable for his club to be in the hunt for the Test and Origin outside back.
“At the Tigers we’re always looking for quality players, whether that’s Latrell or somebody else,” Garner said.
"It would be exciting to have him but if that doesn’t happen, I’m sure we’ll move on and find another quality player.
"I’m sure that in these types of situations Latrell is just trying to slow things down and think it through. At the end of the day it is his career and his life – and that’s the most important thing.
“Whatever makes him happy I’m sure he’ll do it and I hope he succeeds.”
It’s not just Mitchell who has been linked to the Tigers but also Sharks fullback Matt Moylan.
Five key matchups of the Wests Tigers’ 2020 draw
“If they’re available and you can get them, why wouldn’t you? If I was running the team I’d be doing the same thing,” Mbye said.
Specficially on Mitchell’s characteristics, Mbye said the Taree product needed no introduction.
“His strike. He’s only young but he brings a hell of a lot of experience. He’s won two premierships and played games for his country and his state and his indigenous heritage,” he said.
"So he’s got a lot of experience in big games. And he’s got experience from a strong-cultured team and club
Mbye why are you getting involved in this?
So now we’re saying the door is still open???
If we’ve pulled the offer the door should be closed, otherwise what does it actually mean to pull the offer?
This is just ridiculous now.
We’ve either closed the door or we haven’t, if we haven’t, then the offer hasn’t been pulled.
Seems like he’s called our bluff
Its not actually that hard to understand. The Tigers made an offer. If Latrell accepted that offer, they have a contract and pretty much both parties are bound to it. So for arguments sake Tigers could offer JAC $600K becuase if Latrell accepts his offer, Tigers are bound to it and would be buggered.
Tigers withdraw their offer, therefore Latrell cant accept it. Nothing stopping them talking in the future, but there is no offer and Tigers are free to pursue other options.
Whats ridiculous about any of that. Its professional, its business.
What’s ridiculous is Latrell isn’t interested in becoming a Tiger and he’s playing us like fools and we’re “leaving the door open” for him to wipe his feet on us again.
As I said, there’s a lot of slow learners on this forum.
How is he playing us for fools? We have withdrawn our offer, he has not offer from us and without genuine interest in playing for us has nothing to do with us. We have literally nothing to do with Latrell Mitchell and he is playing us for fools?
Because we’re leaving the door open for him to wipe his feet on us again.
We’re trying to come across as if we’re the ones who ended the relationship, but if he wants to come crawling back we’ll take him back.
We’re that sucker in a relationship who keeps taking the dead beat partner back even though they’re only coming back because they have nowhere else to go.
Kick him out but make sure he’s still got a key to the backdoor
G’day @TIGER: You’re a bit over the top mate, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say good on yuh for sticking to your thoughts and expressing them the way you do.
Cheers, much appreciated.
so here we are talking about backs only, I still believe we need a senior prop and a very good backrower, because if u don’t win the battle up front it really doesn’t matter what u got out the back.
Leilua and Garner are a pretty good backrow. And with Musgrove and Stefano signing I don’t think we’re looking too bad in the middle either.
Nicely understated. And if Packer fires this season we will have a great pack.
Packer couldn’t fire if he was a jiffy in a room full of arsonists.
Negative Nelly here…
Come on mate…have a bit of faith in the bloke
I think Packer is finished as an NRL quality player.
If you think that’s negative I can’t help that, I’m just giving my honest opinion based on my observation of him, I think the game has passed him by.
But that is an uneducated observation as you are unaware of what injuries he may have been carrying and how the injuries are now!
I’m also basing it off his football at previous clubs, has he been injured the whole time he’s been with us?
Buzz reckons NRL are set to approve a 10 year Burgess payout for Souths in adminastration role “The NRL is expected to approve his medical retirement by the end of the week. Outside of the new job at Souths, Burgess also recently signed a new commentary deal at Fox Sports”. They’re saying the end of the week now? It seems like they’ve fast-tracked it all if Buzz is on the money here. It would be crazy if it got approved so quickly after Greenberg said in the new year. Wouldn’t be surprised if the timing was by design
Burgess a commentary deal.
I can’t understand what he says half the time. Sounds like he’s got a mouthful of weetbix
Sounds to me as we have publicly removed our offer so we can work on this behind the scenes with out any pressure fingers crossed anyways
The POM explained why. Mitchell himself isn’t the issue, it’s his manager who happens to be the roadblock.
So are you saying that Mitchell really really really wants to play for us but his manager is preventing that happening?
If Mitchell wanted to be a Tiger he would have signed, it’s that simple.
Seriously, not again
You don’t have to involve yourself if you don’t like it, i wasn’t replying to you, you seem to just like complaining.
Go do the dishes or something.
Wow, that’s ironic.
Oh so you understand irony, I’m surprised because you don’t seem to understand much else
Good, now that’s out of your system, can you tell us where Latrell does want to go, because I’m struggling. He’s had a couple clubs interested and has not committed to any of them. The Cows asked him what most appeals about Townsville and he said fishing and shooting. The guys mind is clearly not on the game atm. The more I think of it, you’re probably right, he probably doesn’t wanna play for us. It sounds like he doesn’t wanna play for anyone atm.
I have no idea, he doesn’t seem to know what he wants so how could I possibly know.
My guess is he’ll end up at Souths somehow, sometime but it’s just a guess on a hunch.
So you concede he doesn’t know what he wants, but mockingly repeat how he doesn’t want to play for us, as if that’s a reflection on us.
Never said I knew what he wants.
The fact he seems to have no other option plus
We offered him the money he wants
We offered him his prefered position in his prefered location and he still didn’t sign.
All that to me seems pretty clear he doesn’t want to play for us.
The club has concerns about his commitment to us, so imo they’re crazy to leave the door ajar for him.
Like I said before (and you might not agree and that’s ok) to me we’re the partner ending the relationship but leaving the back door open.
If we have serious enough concerns about his commitment that we pulled his contract, do we want him here on the coin we offered him?
You said he doesn’t seem to know what he wants. Probably true. But you’re using that as an indictment on us that ‘’ he doesn’t want to play for us’’. As if there’s something is wrong with us. You deny you used those words, but that attitude is dripping off your posts. You think the club are losers because they couldn’t basically kick a goal with a wide open net, with no goalie. You’re gloating, almost giddy about it. Then you acknowledge that he doesn’t know what he wants, meaning he could have turned us down for a lot of different reasons, pretty much contradicting yourself.
I’ll say it again, I never said I “know” what he “wants” to do.
It’s my opinion that his actions demonstrate that he “doesn’t” want to play for us.
If I say someone “doesn’t” want to do something.
it doesn’t mean I’m claiming i “do” know what they want to do.
I have no idea as to reasons why he doesn’t want to play for us, never claimed to know.
If I say I “don’t believe” Pixies exist
It’s not the same as saying
I “believe” that pixies don’t exist.
Understand the difference before you say I said something I didn’t, it’s neuanced but significant.
You don’t have to say it. It’s the way you come across. You were rubbing the club’s face in it. Deny it all you like.
Yes I’m saying the club are fools for leaving the back door open for a player that has already demonstrated to them that he’s not commited to playing for them.
I also think fans are fools for believing that he’d sign with us to begin with.
If you disagree, that’s fine, but it’s my opinion and this forum is a place to share our opinions is it not?
I guess so. Even if you have to smash us over the head with it 20 plus times. Just in case you weren’t clear the first time.
I wouldn’t have had to if people didn’t keep misrepresenting what I ACTUALLY said.
And writing what they THOUGHT I said.
And you also don’t have to involve yourself, if you don’t like what I say or what anyone else says, you don’t have to be here or read it or comment on it.
Either some people’s comprehension skills are poor or they read into things what they want to read, not what is actually being said, I’m sure you can also relate to this and understand the frustration.
When someone repeats your words back to you and gets you totally wrong it’s only natural to want to set the record straight.
Communication is a two way process. In my opinion it is a poor communicator who blames the other person (or people) for misunderstanding what they were trying to communicate, instead of looking at the way they trying to communicate it as well.
I think what annoyed people about your posts though @Tiger was that you were calling everyone else fools if they did not agree with you. Instead of saying what you think, you came across (to me anyway, and from other comments I don’t think I’m alone) saying you know how it is, and anyone who doesn’t see that is a fool. People generally don’t like being referred to as fools. Opinions are like bumholes, everyone’s got one, and none are more “right” than any other.
But what do I know, just my opinion, and yes I see the irony in writing my opinion about opinions…
Yes it’s my opinion that whoever thought Mitchell would seriously end up at the Tigers are fools, I think they’ve been fooled.
If you don’t like it, I can’t help that.
If you think I’m a fool for believing something, that’s fine, I won’t cry about it, you’re entitled to your opinion just like you said.
If Mitchell does end up here I’m sure you’re all going to be calling me a fool, and I’ll laugh my ass off about it.