Wests Tigers are prepared to reignite their interest in Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell.

The Tigers withdrew an offer for the Australia star last month after the Roosters took a contract offer for the 22-year-old off the table.

Mitchell.did not rule out remaining in Sydney with the premiers but has reportedly been told by the Roosters he will be unable to stay on due to salary-cap restrictions.

Wests chairman Lee Hagipantelis revealed Roosters counterpart Nick Politis has been in touch to notify him of Mitchell's availability.

"We are actively in the market considering a number of options that are available to us and if Latrell is to be one of those options he is more than welcome to reach out to us," Hagipantelis said.

"At the moment I don't think we are under any particular pressure, we have got a really talented and healthy roster, but it is an active player market at the moment and we want to make sure we are a competitor in that market."

He added, quoted on nrl.com: "Nick has been incredibly transparent throughout this process. He has called me chairman to chairman as a professional courtesy, which I am very appreciative of, and kept us informed.

"Nick has not involved himself in any sort of discussions or negotiations or anything of that kind. It was simply as a professional courtesy to inform me of what the Roosters' position was."

Wests Tigers have withdrawn their offer for disgruntled Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell, the NRL side revealed on Thursday.

The Tigers were interested in luring Mitchell from NRL champions the Roosters, who pulled their contract offer for the centre earlier this month.

Mitchell – contracted to the Roosters for another season – has also been linked to Canterbury Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans.

But the 22-year-old Australia international will not be making the move to Wests Tigers as his future remains in limbo.

"We've withdrawn the offer," Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe told foxsports.com.au.

"It's an active market and we have a responsibility to our members, fans and the club.

"We're focused on securing talent but in relation to Latrell, we've moved on."

It comes as the Tigers reportedly set their sights on Melbourne Storm star Josh Addo-Carr.

A Grand Final winner with the Storm in 2017, New South Wales representative Addo-Carr is believed to be eyeing a return home.

The 24-year-old speedster moved to the Storm from the Tigers ahead of the 2017 season.

 

Sydney Roosters will get the opportunity to secure back-to-back World Club Challenge titles when they travel to take on St Helens on February 22.

The Roosters beat Wigan Warriors to be crowned champions this year and will return to Lancashire for a showdown with Saints 12 months later.

Trent Robinson's side retained the NRL title last month and will be out to maintain their 100 per cent World Club Challenge record when they lock horns with the Super League champions.

Robinson said: "This is an important fixture on the rugby league calendar and we're looking forward to heading to England to compete against St Helens for the 2020 World Club Challenge title."

New head coach Kristian Woolf is looking forward to what will be Saints' first appearance in the fixture since 2015, when they lost to South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Woolf said: "We are really excited about the opportunity to face the Roosters in such a prestigious fixture.

"It will be a great challenge for us to test ourselves against the current World Club champions and we are aiming to stand up and represent Super League and this part of the world in what will be a huge game."

He may be heading over 15,000 kilometres from home, but Sonny Bill Williams is back where it all began.

The 34-year-old has returned to rugby league after signing a lucrative two-year deal with Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack.

It is another fascinating move for the New Zealander, who has represented his country in both codes, holds a 7-0 record in professional boxing and was Googled more often than Kim Kardashian by Kiwis in 2010.

Here, we take a look at Williams' career so far.

BULLDOGS BEGINNINGS

Fifteen years ago Williams, then 18, burst onto the scene with a brilliant display in his NRL debut as Canterbury Bulldogs thrashed Parramatta Eels 48-14.

The teenager scored a try and made 184 metres that night and, one month later, he became New Zealand's youngest ever Test player.

Canterbury went on to win the 2004 NRL Grand Final, with Williams coming off the bench in the victory. A star was born.

TO TOULON

After four seasons with the Bulldogs, Williams controversially switched codes, and countries, joining Top 14 side Toulon, despite having five years left to run on his deal with Canterbury.

A bitter court case followed, and Williams only spent two years in France before turning down an extension that would have reportedly made him the highest-paid player in union.

Williams had other ideas. He wanted to become an All Black.

WORLD CUP WINNER

Williams signed a contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union in 2010 and returned to Canterbury, this time with the region's union team, while representing the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

He made his much-anticipated All Blacks debut in November 2010, starting at outside centre against England, becoming the first man in almost a century to represent the country in both league and union.

New Zealand would end their long wait for a second World Cup title in 2011, with Williams scoring a World Cup record three tries as a substitute.

A HIT AT HEAVYWEIGHT

In 2009, Williams traded passes for punches when he made his debut as a professional boxer, stopping Gary Gurr in the second round.

That was thought to be a one-off but Williams clearly had a taste for the sweet science and he fought four more fights - winning them all - before taking on a title shot against Francois Botha in 2013.

Williams would walk away with the WBA International Heavyweight belt with a points win over a man who had fought Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis previously.

However, there was an element of farce to the bout as it was cut short by two rounds, with the Kiwi clearly struggling by the end of the 10th.

RULING THE ROOST

Five years after his last NRL appearance - and after a stint in Japan - Williams returned to league with the Sydney Roosters, scoring a try on his debut in front of a record crowd.

He would be named the Roosters' player of the year that season and won a second NRL title.

Already a World Cup winner in union, he came close to claiming league's most coveted international prize too but was part of the New Zealand side beaten by Australia in the 2013 final.

Another return to union followed, though, and Williams added another World Cup winners' medal to his collection with the All Blacks in 2015.

Latrell Mitchell could have played his last game for Sydney Roosters after the NRL champions withdrew the offer of a new contract for the centre.

Australia international Mitchell, linked with the Canterbury Bulldogs, has another season left on his current deal and was given the option of an extension by the premiers.

The Roosters on Tuesday revealed a new deal is no longer on the table after the 22-year-old refused to commit beyond 2020.

A club statement said: "The Sydney Roosters have today advised the management of Latrell Mitchell that the club's offer for 2021 and beyond has been withdrawn following discussions with Latrell today.

"Latrell has expressed that he would like to explore his options for season 2021, however he remains under contract with the Roosters for season 2020."

Mitchell said earlier in the day: "I'll do what's right for my family and I. No one has any influence on my decisions.

"I've moved out of home at age 15 to give myself a life. Now I have the responsibility of giving my kids a life I didn't have."

The NRL will not return to using one central referee despite controversy blighting Sydney Roosters' 14-8 Grand Final win over Canberra Raiders.

Assistant Gerard Sutton and touch judge Chris Butler advised head referee Ben Cummins to overturn his late call to hand the Raiders another six tackles, handing possession back to the Roosters, who promptly went up the other end to claim the win.

Canberra boss Ricky Stuart was diplomatic afterwards and insisted he would neither blame the officials for a heart-breaking loss nor seek talks with the league's head of football Graham Annesley.

Speaking after the match, Annesley's assessment was the right decision had been reached – a review of replays showed the ball had come off a Canberra player – but in unsatisfactory circumstances.

"That meant six tackles should not have been awarded," he said. "But I accept it created confusion among the Canberra players.

"It's obviously very messy and very disappointing for the game as a whole that we're now talking about an incident where they actually got the decision right – but they got it right in a way that's caused controversy.

"But if they had not corrected the decision and the Raiders had scored, I'd probably still be sitting here telling you a try had been scored off an incorrect decision.

"But from the moment it happened, the outcome was going to be very unpalatable.

"One of the reasons we have multiple officials on the field is to try to get decisions right."

Before 2009, NRL games were controlled by a single referee, and Annesley felt the Grand Final flashpoint actually highlighted the flaw of the old system.

"If we'd had one referee tonight we would have got the decision wrong," he added.

"It's not possible to avoid errors. Errors by their very definition aren't intended to happen.

"So if anyone can sit in this chair and tell you they can prevent errors from occurring, then we should be hiring them immediately."

Ricky Stuart insisted he would have to be a miracle worker to lift the spirits of his Canberra Raiders squad after their NRL Grand Final defeat.

James Tedesco's late try secured a 14-8 victory for defending premiers Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, though it was a game laced with controversy.

The Roosters' Cooper Cronk was harshly sin-binned early in the second half, but it was Canberra who were the recipients of a bizarre decision late on.

Referee Ben Cummins initially signalled for a repeat set of six following a Canberra attack, only to rescind his decision and hand possession back to the Roosters, who went up the other end to claim the win.

Stuart insisted he did not wish to put the spotlight on the officials, though confirmed he would not be speaking to the referees' boss Graham Annesley, stating it would be miraculous if he was able to lift his side's confidence.

"The plan we had was working. We were coming on really strong with the plan we had but we lost a bit of momentum in a couple of scenarios," he told a news conference.

"I'm not a miracle worker, you can't lift spirits after a grand final [defeat].

"I'd like to think of it as a wonderful Grand Final, one we could have won. It was the wrong call and I've only seen it once. 

"No one goes out there to make a mistake. They have tough jobs. If it's the wrong call there's not a referee that would go out there to make a mistake, if it is a mistake."

Stuart, however, believes the incident is merely a reflection of a hugely challenging campaign for Canberra, who made their first Grand Final appearance in 25 years.

"Anything that can go wrong has gone wrong for us this year. All the adversity we've had this year, we've overcome," he added.

"The travel adversity, two players sent off in one half. That's built the resilience in this team, we don't look for excuses. We look for solutions to get on with it. I'm proud of the squad that I'm coaching."

Cooper Cronk is more than ready for retirement after he helped Sydney Roosters to an unprecedented back-to-back title in the NRL.

The Roosters became the first team to win successive premierships in the NRL era with a tightly contested 14-8 victory over Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium.

James Tedesco crossed late on for the Roosters after the referee Ben Cummins changed his decision from awarding Canberra a fresh set of tackles, instead giving Sydney the handover as Cronk - who was controversially sent to the sin bin early in the second half - went out on a winning note.

Cronk, 35, was overwhelmed with emotion in the aftermath of Sunday's triumph, but insisted he has no doubts about hanging up his boots.

"There was so much emotion around the game this week, but the club did a really good job of keeping it pretty small," Cronk told the Nine Network.

"I don't really know what to say except thank you to everyone involved in rugby league.

"From being a young kid, I've been blessed to be able to watch this game and it's a humbling experience having been able to live out a dream and have some success at the end of it. But I'm ready for retirement - I've had enough!

"I'm the result of some very good individuals at some very good clubs. I've been fortunate enough to play with some guys that changed the way rugby league was played and I just jumped on the back of that and had some fun along the way.

"It's been one hell of a journey, one hell of a ride and I'm just glad it's over!"

Cronk, appearing in his ninth Grand Final, was harshly cautioned when he was adjudged to have tackled Josh Papalii without the ball.

The officials checked for a penalty try, though the video official deemed a penalty - and yellow card for Cronk - was sufficient.

"It's not ideal. I'm not here to criticise the referees but I didn't think it was a sin-binning offence," Cronk said.

"It took heart and soul for this club to defend for that time and then score points. This club cops a lot of criticism but it's got one big heart, a hell of a lot of soul and a lot of good people involved in it."

Match-winner Tedesco echoed Cronk's thoughts, while hailing his retiring team-mate.

"It's a pretty surreal feeling. Everything was against us, Cooper getting sent to the bin in his last game, we were under the pump that whole second half," Tedesco said.

"We've got a winning culture, the boys never give up and we fought for the whole 80. [Cronk] is an unbelievable player, an unbelievable bloke.

"We spoke during the week about how much he has done for every one of us as players. To send him out a winner is an awesome feeling."

Sydney Roosters became the first team to win back-to-back premierships in the NRL era with a nail-biting 14-8 triumph over a dogged Canberra Raiders.

Star full-back James Tedesco crossed eight minutes from the end of a hard-fought and ultimately controversial contest to send the retiring Cooper Cronk out a winner at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The Raiders, on top for long periods, had moments earlier been on the wrong end of a reversed decision for a fresh set of six that forced a handover heading into the closing stages.

Jack Wighton's converted try and a Jarrod Croker penalty earlier brought Ricky Stuart's men level after they fell eight points behind in the first half but their first Grand Final appearance in 25 years ended in agony.

Defence had been the cornerstone of Canberra's unexpected run to the premiership decider but the Roosters needed just six minutes to pierce the armour.

Boyd Cordner went close before Sam Verrills, in his 14th NRL appearance, darted out of dummy half and opened the scoring next to the upright.

There was a setback for the Roosters when Mitchell Aubusson suffered a game-ending knee injury as the result of last-ditch defending on his own line but another two points from Latrell Mitchell's boot softened the blow.

Joe Tapine had gifted away the penalty with a high tackle on Victor Radley that left the dazed lock in need of a concussion test.

The Raiders steadied and earned a deserved foothold before the interval following a largely subdued Tedesco's failure to hold a high kick, which gave Wighton the chance to slice through and reduce the deficit back to two points for an improving Canberra.

Bursts from Joseph Leilua and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad imbued them with more momentum at the start of the second half and led to a real opening for Stuart's side.

Cronk, in his ninth Grand Final, headed for the sin bin after being adjudged to have tackled Josh Papalii without the ball.

The video referee decided against awarding a penalty try but Croker's successful penalty leveled the score at 8-8.

Canberra looked to have taken advantage of the extra number when Jordan Rapana crossed in the corner, but a sloppy last pass from Leilua had gone forward off the ground.

Mitchell squandered an opportunity to edge the Roosters back ahead yet the door swung back open when the Raiders were forced to hand the ball over on the fifth tackle of a promising attack, despite six-again having seemingly been signalled before Wighton allowed himself to be tackled. 

The Roosters surged forward and Mitchell and Leilua combined to send Dally M Medal winner Tedesco in for the winning try.

Sydney Roosters are strong favourites to become the first team to win back-to-back titles for 21 years when they lock horns with Canberra Raiders in the NRL Grand Final on Sunday.

The Roosters dethroned Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium last year and are expected to shatter the Raiders' hopes of being crowned champions for the first time since 1994.

Canberra have a terrible record when facing the defending champions in New South Wales, but Ricky Stuart's men will be not be thinking about that when they run out in Sydney this weekend.

We pick out a selection of Opta facts ahead of the decider.

 

- This will be the third time the Roosters and Canberra have clashed in the finals series during the NRL era – with the Roosters having won the previous encounters by 28 (2000 semi-final) and 26 (2004 quarter-final) point margins respectively.

- The Roosters have won 17 of their 18 matches against the Raiders in New South Wales since the NRL commenced in 1998.

- Jarrod Croker needs eight points to become the first Raiders player to score 2000 in the NRL. He has scored 48 points in his last five matches against the Roosters, crossing the try line on each occasion in that span.

- Canberra's Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (1527) and Sydney's James Tedesco (1467) have gained the most metres from kick returns amongst all players in NRL 2019.

- The defending champions have scored the most tries than any other team this season, with 116 to their opponents' 93. 

- Canberra have won three of their five NRL Grand Final appearances. This is the first time they have been involved on the final day of the season since being crowned champions in 1994.

- Only the Storm (9.4) and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (9.7) have averaged fewer errors per game than the Raiders (10.0) in NRL 2019. The Roosters have averaged 12.2 per game - the second most.

Sydney Roosters will return to the NRL Grand Final to defend their title after beating minor premiers Melbourne Storm 14-6 in a fierce contest on Saturday.

In a rematch of last year's final, the tone was set after just seconds with a pair of yellow cards for an early confrontation at Sydney Cricket Ground.

But the Roosters quickly got in front and never let their lead slip, scoring crucial tries through Boyd Cordner and James Tedesco and battling bravely at the other end.

Sydney will chase a 15th title against a man who took them to three Grand Finals, with Ricky Stuart back in the season decider with the Canberra Raiders for the first time since losing with the Roosters in 2004.

And this year's final match will come 17 years to the day since Stuart and Sydney won together in 2002.

For the Storm, attention will now turn to the future of the great Cameron Smith, who is said to be undecided amid talk of retirement.

A fast and furious start incredibly saw a player from either side sent to the sin bin within the opening minute.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona appeared to twice swing at Siosiua Taukeiaho, prompting an understandably furious reaction that saw both props shown yellow cards as Latrell Mitchell's boot supplied the first points.

The Roosters came under intense pressure but responded superbly, with Daniel Tupou towering over his opponent to claim a high kick and then holding off three Melbourne players to offload to Cordner to touch down.

Jahrome Hughes then appeared to be guilty of a professional foul when he stopped Tedesco scoring late in the half, but Sydney settled for a penalty, dispatched by Mitchell.

Asofa-Solomona made a rather more positive impact at the start of the second period, though, powering through to score after an extended spell of Storm pressure.

The Roosters were clinging on and their hopes were hit further when Tedesco was controversially deemed to have knocked on to Joseph Manu, whose score was therefore disallowed.

But Tedesco made amends and scored himself with 12 minutes remaining, with Mitchell's conversion crucially moving Sydney eight points in front to seal victory.

Sydney Roosters will be aiming to extend an impressive run at the Sydney Cricket Ground when they face Melbourne Storm in the NRL preliminary finals on Saturday.

However, the minor premiers have been difficult to beat away from AAMI Park and will be out to avenge their Grand Final defeat to the Roosters last year and reach the showpiece for the fourth straight year.

The victors will take on either Canberra Raiders or South Sydney Rabbitohs, who meet at GIO Stadium on Friday.

The Raiders have not won in Canberra since a 20-12 win over the Wests Tigers in July, and the Bunnies have been impressive on the road.

Ahead of the penultimate weekend of the NRL season, we look at the best Opta facts.

 

Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs

- This will be the fourth time the Raiders and the Rabbitohs have met in the NRL finals – and the first time in the nation's capital – with Ricky Stuart's men having won two of their previous three such encounters.
- Canberra will be vying to reach their first NRL Grand Final since 1994 – the longest drought of any active team to have made at least one appearance in the title decider.
- Souths have won all six of their matches outside New South Wales this year, their most in a single season in the NRL era.
- Cody Walker has been directly involved in seven tries in his last four NRL games against the Raiders (four tries, three assists); he has also crossed for the opening score of the match in each of their last two meetings.
- Jarrod Croker is just 16 shy of becoming the seventh player in premiership history to score 2,000 points.

Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm

- Five of the past six NRL games between the Roosters and the Storm have been decided by a margin of three points or fewer, with each team picking up three wins in that span.
- The Roosters have won their last nine NRL outings at the SCG and by an average margin of 29 points per game, not once conceding more than 12 points in that run.
- Melbourne have won eight straight away matches in the NRL; the last time they enjoyed a longer winning streak on the road within a single season was a nine-game stretch in 2011.
- The Storm have won nine of their past 11 preliminary finals, including their last three on the bounce across which they have conceded a total of just 18 points.
- Melbourne have averaged 6.5 line breaks per game this season, more than any other team in the NRL.

Reigning NRL champions Sydney Roosters are one win away from returning to the Grand Final after humiliating rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs with an emphatic 30-6 victory.

The Roosters suffered a 16-10 defeat against the Bunnies at ANZ Stadium in the last week of the regular season, but it was a very different story at the SCG on Friday.

Trent Robinson's men ran riot and will now enjoy a week off ahead of their preliminary final, while the Rabbitohs must regroup ahead of a semi-final against Manly Sea Eagles or Cronulla Sharks.

Joseph Manu's third-minute score set the tone for a dominant first-half showing from the Roosters, who soon pulled further ahead with four-pointers from Mitchell Aubusson, Boyd Cordner and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

The pick of the first-half tries was still to come as a slick move culminated in Brett Morris producing a magnificent offload to put James Tedesco over.

Latrell Mitchell kicked three goals before the interval and the centre crossed the whitewash in the second period following excellent work from Luke Keary, who provided an assist after his 40-20 kick had set up a great attacking platform.

The Bunnies, who welcomed back George Burgess from his nine-week suspension for eye gouging, at least avoided the indignity of being kept scoreless when Adam Reynolds danced over for a 64th-minute try he also converted.

However, the Roosters had easily wrapped up victory by that stage and look as though they will take some stopping as they aim to defend their crown.

Brett Morris is set to make a landmark appearance as the NRL Finals kick-off with a heavyweight clash between Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Friday's match between the sides, who finished second and third respectively in the regular season, will be the first Finals game to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground since the 1983 Grand Final.

Parramatta Eels won on that occasion and they round off the first round of Finals fixtures against the Brisbane Broncos on Sunday.

Minor premiers Melbourne Storm are in action on Saturday, taking on Canberra Raiders, before Manly Sea Eagles host Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

Here, we take a look at the best Opta facts for the first round of Finals matches.

Friday

Sydney Roosters (17-7) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (16-8)

- Defending premiers Roosters - who beat the Storm in last season's grand final - have won their past two games against the Rabbitohs, though they have not won three or more in succession against their city rivals since 1988.

- Roosters' Morris is set to play in his 250th NRL fixture. The 33-year-old has not scored a try against the Rabbitohs since 2015.

Saturday 

Melbourne Storm (20-4) v Canberra Raiders (15-9)

- After cruising to the minor premiers title, Melbourne host the Raiders, who have won four of their past eight away matches against the Storm, including a 22-18 victory in their last meeting.

- Suliasi Vunivalu could be the Storm's biggest weapon, with the winger having scored six tries in his last four NRL appearances against the Raiders.

Manly Sea Eagles (14-10) v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (12-12)

- The Sea Eagles have won 16 of their past 18 games against the Sharks, including the three most recent fixtures.

- Dylan Walker will be relishing this match, having crossed for a try in each of his previous three NRL meetings with Cronulla.

Sunday

Parramatta Eels (14-10) v Brisbane Broncos (11-12)

- Each of the past four NRL Finals matches played between the Eels and the Broncos have been won by the home side on the day.

- Matt Gillett of the Broncos is set to play his 200th NRL match, while the Eels' Reed Mahoney has made 1,150 tackles in 2019 - more than any other player.

South Sydney Rabbitohs clinched their top-four spot in NRL with a superb second-half fightback against fierce rivals Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium.

The Roosters led by eight at the break thanks to Cooper Cronk's converted score and a try from Billy Smith, but the Rabbitohs ran in 14 unanswered points in the second half.

It marks the first time the Rabbitohs have beaten the Roosters twice in the regular season since 2009 and strikes a potential psychological blow ahead of the NRL Finals.

However, the Rabbitohs will be nervous to find out the extent of an injury to Dane Gagai (hamstring), while Tevita Tatola, Liam Knight, John Sutton and Adam Reynolds all needed to undergo concussion tests during the game.

Defending premiers Roosters started on the back foot and trailed to Reynolds' early penalty, but good work down the right saw Cronk cross, before Smith – playing just his second game – went over in the 24th minute.

The Roosters were made to pay for failing to take the opportunities they had to add to their total, though, as Campbell Graham took advantage of some lax defending from Latrell Mitchell seven minutes after the restart.

Cody Walker completed a fine team move just two minutes later and a late Reynolds penalty stretched the lead for the Rabbitohs.

The win means the Rabbitohs go third, at least temporarily, and they could face off against the Roosters again next week if Canberra Raiders fail to beat New Zealand Warriors.

 

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