Jai Arrow on the charge for the Titans. Picture: AAP
Jai Arrow on the charge for the Titans. Picture: AAP

Revealed: Crucial meeting to lure Arrow to Souths

South Sydney's bold bid to lure Jai Arrow to Redfern will come to a head at a meeting on Monday with a formal offer expected to be tabled to the boom young Gold Coast forward.

It follows the NRL's decision on Friday not to lump the Rabbitohs' with Sam Burgess' $1 million-a-season contract payout on their salary cap.

What this has done is immediately open up an opportunity for these negotiations to go to the next level.

Souths are expected to blow the Titans out of the water in respect to the money they can direct at one of the game's most exciting middle forwards.

Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson has been handling all the negotiations so far with Arrow's agent David Riolo, but Bennett also returns to training this week and will be eager to know where his squad stands going forward.

The Titans have made no secret of their intention to do all they can to keep Arrow.

But while they haven't given up hope, they are restricted by the fact they are already forking out huge money for several underperforming stars who they just can't offload.

The Rabbitohs see Arrow as the perfect replacement for Burgess given what he brings on and off the field.

Bennett even took the unusual step of coming out last week and speaking publicly about his desire to coach Arrow.

Bennett rarely gets involved in the player market circus but the fact he chose to make those comments further highlights just how serious Souths are about getting this deal done.

 

Wayne Bennett is keen to coach Jai Arrow. Picture: Getty Images
Wayne Bennett is keen to coach Jai Arrow. Picture: Getty Images

 

Make no mistake, this could ultimately be a critical play in respect to Bennett's lasting legacy at the Bunnies.

While the opportunity to play under Bennett would be a huge attraction to any young player, the Rabbitohs also need to regenerate their roster after losing the team's two superstars in Burgess and Greg Inglis in the space of one season.

There is no way Bennett would have anticipated that would be the outcome when he took on the job to replace Anthony Seibold.

Bennett still has two more years to run on his current deal at Souths, but given he turns 70 in the New Year the most successful coach in the game's history will be motivated to make next year count.

 

Jai Arrow shapes as the perfect replacement for Sam Burgess. Picture: Getty Images
Jai Arrow shapes as the perfect replacement for Sam Burgess. Picture: Getty Images

 

Souths did extremely well this year to finish one game short of the grand final given Inglis' retirement and the fact Burgess was injured for much of the year.

But bringing on board a player like Arrow could really reinvigorate the pack alongside youngsters like Cameron Murray and Liam Knight who showed tremendous improvement in 2019.

Bennett knows better than anyone you don't win premierships unless you have the right players and right now Arrow is the best forward on the open market along with Brisbane's David Fifita.

While Arrow's current deal at Gold Coast runs for next season there is a chance he could gain an early release if he was to settle his future in Sydney.

It would also potentially open up the salary cap space needed for the Titans to have a red hot crack at Latrell Mitchell.


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