Latimore wants new deal at Penrith
Penrith prop Jeremy Latimore has put his hand up to take over from retiring veteran Brent Kite as he seeks to earn a new contract at the club.
After a strong season with the club last year, the 28-year-old says he's in a better position this time to negotiate a longer-term deal with the club having only signed a one-year extension last June.
"I'm thinking about that now. Hopefully I can catch up with the club in the next week or two and hopefully I can stay here beyond this year," Latimore told NRL.com.
"I love it here. We haven't started talks yet, but there are still spots on the roster with [Nigel] Plum and [Brent] Kite retiring. And then there's still my spot. I know Mez [Dragons star Trent Merrin] is coming, but hopefully I can stay.
"Kitey's got a lot of leadership for this club and that's definitely something that I aspire to do. I'm a bit more experienced now. So where I can help the young fellas, I try to."
One of Ivan Cleary's most consistent forwards over the past year – he's missed just two games since the start of last season – the former Warriors prop also believes next year's mooted changes in the interchange would work in his advantage.
The NRL is currently considering dropping the amount of substitutions from 10 to eight, and possibly even six.
While Latimore says he'd have to drop "a few kegs", he reckons the players most affected would be the bigger back-rowers.
"I'm about 109 kilos now, but I wouldn't have to drop too much, especially with front-rowers. It might be more the back-rowers who have to become 80-minute players. I reckon you'd still make a couple of changes with your front-rowers," he said.
"It's going to be interesting to see different teams approach it differently. Obviously you look at the Bulldogs pack, they've got four or five guys in that pack who weigh over 115 kilos, so I can't see them playing the full 80. That's something that Des will have to manage.
"We're pretty lucky we've got back-rowers like Elijah Taylor and Tyrone Peachey who can play 80 minutes. That's probably going to benefit us props if it goes down to six. But from my point of view, I can play big minutes so I don't think it'll affect me too much. I might have to drop a keg or two."
Kite, who could retire as the fifth most capped player in the NRL when he hangs up the boots at the end of the season, says a reduction in interchanges would make endurance players the most valuable forwards on the market.
"It's good to see those guys still in the game, but they might come to the fore a bit more if they put these changes in place," Kite said.
"Paul Gallen's doing things that not many other guys could do, but he's the sort of player you'd be looking at. Him and guys like Anthony Watmough, the smaller type forwards that can get the job done for longer periods. It'll have an impact, but it should be a positive one."