LATRELL EXITS BUBBLE AS BENNETT MAINTAINS FINALS ASPIRATIONS
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed that superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell has exited the club’s bubble as he recovers from hamstring surgery.
After scans confirmed that his season was over due to a ruptured hamstring tendon, Bennett revealed that the 23-year-old has been granted leave from their bubble as he begins the rehabilitation process and enjoys his life away from the game.
“He’s had the operation, that was pretty successful and everyone’s pleased with that, it‘s just the recovery time now,” Bennett said.
“He’s out of the bubble so he can have a bit of life.”
Mitchell’s loss has been a major dent towards the Rabbitohs finals aspirations, however, Bennett was confident that the rest of squad could continue to lift and deliver despite his absence.
“They still are looking good, Latrell’s one of 17 that go out there for us,” he said.
“He’s a wonderful player and he’s obviously a loss for us but we’ve had other players that we’ve lost through the season and at the moment, we got players going out there in their place and doing really well and that’s important.
“In football, injuries are apart of it, most of the top clubs have players missing at the moment so we’re in the same category.
“The players that we are putting up are doing really well and that’s all you can ask.”
- Nathan Williamson
REYNOLDS ‘ONE OF THE BEST KICKERS OF ALL-TIME’ - BENNETT
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has praised captain Adam Reynolds ahead of his 200th NRL game, believing that he is one of the greatest goal-kickers of all time.
Reynolds will become just the fifth player to play 200 games for the foundation club, with the 30-year-old playing an integral part in the side’s mid-season revival.
With the halfback taking on extra responsibilities as captain, Bennett praised Reynolds for his maturity and development throughout the season.
“I’ve been pleased with his form all season, to be honest, you guys didn’t realise that but that’s ok you don’t coach,” he said.
“I’ve been pretty pleased with him all season, I think he’s accepted the captain’s role really well and he leads from the front and his form has been excellent.
“I think he’s at the stage of his life where he’s enjoying his football and probably the captaincy adds a bit more responsibility to Adam but he’s quite a quality player and his kicking game been outstanding.”
Reynolds’ kicking game has been a major difference-maker for the club, with his pinpoint goal kicking putting him just five points behind Roosters halfback Kyle Flanagan in the race for leading goalkicker.
Bennett pointed to his incredible performance against the Sea Eagles, where he slotted five from the sidelines, as evidence that he deserved to be considered as one of the greatest goal kickers to play the game.
“He’s up there with the absolute best of them, he’s probably the best that the game has ever seen,” he said
“His exhibition a couple of weeks ago was just unbelievable, his kicking from the sideline went in the same direction and he did about five in a row, that’s pretty rare from what I’ve seen
“I think he’s in a group of players that are all-time great kickers of the game."
- Nathan Williamson
BENNETT RULES OUT MOVE FOR BENJI
Wayne Bennett has ruled out a move for former five-eighth Benji Marshall as the Tigers legend begins the search for a new club.
With the Tigers confirming that they will move on from the 35-year-old, Marshall revealed that he sought out Bennett for advice about playing on in 2021.
Whilst Bennett refused to comment on what was said in the conversation, he was adamant that there would be no reunion as log as the Rabbitohs halves continued to fire.
“I would if there was an opportunity here, but there isn’t an opportunity here so that can’t happen," Bennett said
Having coached Marshall during his brief stint with the Broncos, Bennett praised the influence that he had on the club both on and off the field.
“We’ve all seen Benji for a long time so I don’t think I need to tell everybody about him, but I will tell you what you don’t see is that he is an outstanding bloke,” he said.
“He was outstanding with the players that we had at the Broncos at the time.
"We had a lot of young players there and I can’t give him enough accolades for the contribution he made.
“He didn’t get a lot of regular first grade, but he just respected being part of the team up there and he got a great deal of respect from the players because of his attitude, professionalism and the way he helped a lot of them.”
Ultimately, Bennett believes that the decision lies with Marshall and how he feels his body will hold up.
“It is not about what I think, it is about what he thinks,” he believes.
"It is his body, he knows what he has done in the game and where he is at in life so it’s his decision to make, not mine.
- Nathan Williamson
BELLAMY WARY OF ‘RED-HOT’ RABBITOHS DESPITE LATRELL ABSENCE
Friday night’s clash between the Storm and Rabbitohs promises to be a blockbuster - even though superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell won’t be involved.
The 23-year old ruptured his hamstring tendon last week against the Eels, ruling him out for the remainder of the season.
Speaking to the media on Thursday morning, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said it will be a big loss for their opponents.
“He’s a player that can make something out of nothing. Some of the plays that he has put on the last couple of weeks with his hands has been out of this world," he said.
"I’m sure they are going to miss him without a doubt, but they’ve got a couple of handy players in (Alex) Johnston and (Dane) Gagai back this week.
“It’ll be interesting to see what they do there – you’d think they are going to miss Latrell without a doubt.”
But what is worrying Bellamy most is the form of Rabbitohs halves Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker, who have been huge in their recent winning streak.
“Cody and Adam are in red-hot form at the moment. The last couple of weeks has been outstanding. We’ll need to be on our game there," he said.
"Having said that, we’ve got a lot of confidence in our two halves. Jahrome (Hughes) has been playing really good footy, and we know how quality a player (Cameron) Munster is.
“We’re probably more concerned about our halves on Friday night, but we will need to keep an eye on theirs.”
Bellamy also revealed that the club are ‘confident’ Kenny Bromwich will be able to play after a one-game absence, despite original fears he could miss up to a month.
- Liam O’Loughlin