Latrell’s one and only spot
LATRELL Mitchell has credited his own self belief – and that of coach Wayne Bennett – for his stunning transformation in the South Sydney No.1 jersey saying: “I’ve always been a fullback, mate”.
Only 12 months after people first started questioning if Mitchell could even play at the back of an NRL side, the Bunnies poster boy tore apart St George Illawarra in the Charity Shield on Saturday night.
Despite only playing for the opening 40 minutes in Mudgee, Mitchell scored one try, orchestrated three more and generally looked unstoppable as the Rabbitohs surged to a 32-4 lead.
Incredibly, and in the same game only 12 months ago, the biggest question being asked was not how Mitchell would take to the new role, but if the recruited Roosters centre should even move from a spot where he had already represented NSW and Australia.
Asked about the ongoing questions, Mitchell says: “I don’t focus on the outside noise. I just want to focus on myself.
“I knew this move was going to take some time … and is going to take a long time to get used to the position. But I’ve always been a fullback, mate.
“Going through juniors I never played centre, never played five-eighth … ah, I actually played some
then I came to
Sydney and moved straight to fullback.
“So it’s nothing new for me. “The workload is something I have to get used to.
“And I’ve still got a lot (more) to work on because the NRL is a lot different to playing fullback in SG Ball, under-20s and so on.”
So as for how far he can go as an NRL No.1?
“I want to be the best version of myself, that’s the best way I can put it,” he said.
Mitchell also revealed the faith of coach Bennett – when so many others were saying he would fail – had been a huge contributor to his transformation over 12 months.
“Wayne has confidence in me and he’s told me that,” the Bunnies star continued.
“And when I have the best coach in the world telling me that, it gives me motivation to want to play for him.
“That’s why players want to play for Wayne, because of the person he is.”
He also lets you play you way, right?
“Wayne puts a structure in place that gets us to points on the field,” Mitchell continued. “And then we can play our best footy.
“That gives us the indication, ‘OK we’ve got to this point now we can go play’.
“There’s a real good feeling in this club and that has a lot to do with Wayne. He sets a good example with his coaching.
“He threw in the Queensland job which gives us an indication that he’s ‘all in’ here with us.
“Wayne is working really hard with me and I’m soaking it all up.”
Mitchell also praised Rabbitohs’ No.6 Cody Walker, who scored three tries in the space of eight minutes before also being replaced at halftime in Mudgee.
“Cody’s a footballer – that’s all I can really say,” the fullback said.
“It’s a plain old statement but he is a footballer.
“He’s instinctive, knows where to be … he is the ball pretty much. “Wherever the ball gets passed, Cody’s there. I love watching him play and loved seeing those three tries.”