Mitchell makes solid start to life at Souths, apart from spilled bomb

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This was published 1 year ago

Mitchell makes solid start to life at Souths, apart from spilled bomb

By Christian Nicolussi

Apart from a howler of an attempt to catch a Corey Norman bomb, Latrell Mitchell produced a solid 40 minutes as life at fullback for South Sydney officially started in Mudgee on Saturday night.

Mitchell showed electric hands to fire the final pass for Campbell Graham's first-minute try, squeezed a few offloads, kicked, fended, rag-dolled a few opponents in defence and basically had the 9124 Mudgee faithful excited every time he positioned himself deep and to the left in attack.

Latrell Mitchell makes his first appearance for the Rabbitohs on Saturday night in Mudgee.

Latrell Mitchell makes his first appearance for the Rabbitohs on Saturday night in Mudgee.Credit:Getty

Souths coach Wayne Bennett would have been happy with his star No.1's first hit-out for the club, as well as the 26-12 win, the club's eighth straight Charity Shield success.

But Bennett and Mitchell will know there is still plenty of work to do between now and Saturday week's season opener against Cronulla.

Expect there to be plenty of bombs launched at Mitchell during training with his dud attempt to defuse Norman's kick to feature prominently on the bloopers reel.


Souths hooker Damien Cook was pleased with Mitchell, who had also done well to cope with the intense hype and interest that followed him  to the central western NSW town.

"I thought Latrell was really good and he'll only get better,'' Cook said.

"He's very good with numbers [in defence] ... there were no line breaks, so that means he's getting his numbers right.


"With Latrell we want him to enjoy hs footy. We know how much media attention he got in the off-season, he's only a young kid, we have to remember that, even though he's already experienced and won a couple of premierships.

"But he's young and we want to make sure he's still enjoying his footy.''

Cook said he could never compare Mitchell with former Souths star Greg Inglis but did admire the way he had stayed so composed at just 22.

Even Dragons coach Paul McGregor was impressed by the opposition fullback and said: "He's a world-class player, he was always going to be a handful, he's still learning the position and it will take time.

"When he runs the footy you know he's coming at you and you have to be physical with him because he's big and strong and has rare ability to turn nothing into something.''

The Bunnies did most of their damage in the 20 minutes straight after half-time by running in three tries, including one for Patrick Mago, who also set up a second.

New No.13 Liam Knight was a workhorse in the first half, running for 100m and having no dramas offloading.

The Dragons were the better team for most of the first half, and just as they did a week earlier against the Knights played their best just before half-time.

One thing the Dragons did nail was the captain's challenge with Ben Hunt succeeding on both occasions.


To help Hunt and Tyson Frizell and Cameron McInnes when he returns from a knee injury, the Dragons discussed holding up a red or green paddle on the sideline to help the skipper reach a quick decision.

"For something that is so fresh and new, to get two right is good ... that's two possessions we wouldn't have had if there was no captain's challenge,'' McGregor said.

"We're looking at different ways of being innovative ... we'll come up with little ways of trying to make it clearer for the boys.''

As is normally the case with a February trial, both teams struggled to hold the ball early with the Dragons completing just one of their first four sets and Souths three of their opening seven. To their credit, the Red V were almost flawless the remainder of the first half in that department.

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