South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett has explained why he allowed Jai Arrow to leave the Brisbane Broncos and confirmed he wants the Gold Coast Titans star at Redfern ahead of a high-stakes meeting on Wednesday.
The Titans gave Arrow permission to negotiate with rival NRL clubs in August but last week increased their initial three-year, $1.8 million offer to Arrow amid strong interest from South Sydney.
Arrow has repeatedly expressed his preference to stay on The Glitter Strip.
The Bunnies are set to offer Arrow a five-year, $4million dollar contract.
Despite reports suggesting Arrow is already a done deal at the Rabbitohs, it is understood the Queensland Maroons back-rower remains genuinely undecided on his next move.
He made his NRL debut under Bennett at the Broncos in 2016, playing 24 games in two seasons before the veteran coach encouraged him to defect to the Titans.
Bennett told News Limited he cut Arrow loose for his own good because he wasn’t guaranteed a regular spot in first-grade at the time.
He insists he has a good working relationship with the lock, who became an Origin star with the Titans, declaring him the ‘ideal’ replacement for Burgess.
Meanwhile, Arrow’s next move could have major complications for disgruntled Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell.
According to multiple reports, the Titans will strongly consider releasing Arrow from the final season of his contract if he signs a long-term deal with a rival NRL club.
His possible exit ahead of the 2020 season would open the door for the reigning wooden-spooners to sign Mitchell immediately.
Mitchell, who is unwanted at the Roosters and faces the prospect of playing for feeder club the North Sydney Bears in 2020, is reportedly set to meet with Titans management this week.
The North Queensland Cowboys were last week considered an outside chance to make a play for Mitchell but have since all-but ruled out the chances of securing his signature due to salary cap issues.
Wests Tigers have begun actively pursuing other players but have left the door to re-open negotiations with the 22-year-old.