‘Roosters pay his bills, not NSW’: Snubbed Mitchell could re-assess Origin future
Sacked NSW centre Latrell Mitchell is so disillusioned with his Blues snub that those close to him believe he will not make himself available for State of Origin duty again in the immediate future.
The Sydney Roosters superstar learned of his axing for Origin II in Perth when told by club and state captain Boyd Cordner in their dressing room after the defeat of Canterbury on Sunday.
Keep your head up: Roosters teammates have rallied around Latrell Mitchell after his Origin axing.Credit:NRL Photos
It is understood the 22-year-old could now re-assess his short-term representative future.
Mitchell's father Matt was naturally disappointed for his son and told the Herald on Monday night: "I'm just happy he's back playing well for the Roosters and that's his main concern, just playing consistently.
"The rep stuff is a bonus but the Roosters pay his bills, not NSW.
"His coach Trent Robinson has been unbelievable, and so has [Roosters chairman] Nick Politis."
Pressed on whether he believed Mitchell would wear the sky blue again in the immediate future, his father said: "I won't speak for my son."
Mitchell's mother Patricia, meanwhile, told Nine on Monday night her son had been affected by several deaths in the family the past couple of months, including the loss of two aunties, a cousin and great uncle.
"Latrell has been dealing with this the best way that he can but this will affect any young person as you could imagine,'' Patricia said in a statement.
Goolagong also said Mitchell was affected by his brother Lionel having to face court charged with assault following an alleged pub incident in April where both were present. She said the pair had been ‘‘racially abused all night’’.
‘‘This has really affected Latrell,’’ she said. ‘‘He has never had to deal with anything like this.’’
Cordner was told of the dumping of Mitchell and fellow Rooster Angus Crichton during a radio interview after the Roosters' 38-12 defeat of the Bulldogs. He then relayed Mitchell's omission to the man himself, who had just scored two tries on his 22nd birthday.
Knowing Latrell, he will use [being dropped] as a bit of motivation.
To be fair to the Blues, there was never going to be a good time to break the news. Fittler said everything was fine when he spoke with Mitchell on Sunday night.
After arriving in Perth, Cordner backed Mitchell to play for NSW again.
"People come to watch Latrell play football, just to see what he'll do," Cordner said.
"I actually thought he knew because I found out on the ground. I knew Angus knew. Then I went up and saw Latrell in the sheds and I was like, 'mate, I'm sorry', but he didn't know.
"He was actually OK and handled it well. Once he spoke with Robbo and was around the sheds he was OK. He would have been upset or disappointed once it sunk in.
"But he handled himself really well in the sheds.
"I'm sure Freddy would have spoken to him by now and let him know what he was thinking. Knowing Latrell, he will use that as a bit of motivation to go out."
Cordner said it was "definitely not the end of his rep career".
"Some of the stuff he can do nobody else can," he said. "Every time he gets the ball in his hands you dead-set think something is going to happen. There are not many players who have that aura or ability to do that. He's a very special talent.
"I suppose there is so much more room for improvement. It's scary where he can get to.
"At training or at the captain's run, he'll practise goal-kicking, then he goes to the halfway line and kicks one and it is still going up as it goes through [the posts] … and he walks off as if it was nothing.
"Whenever you lose an Origin game there's a lot of speculation that will go on. The team we have now is a really strong team. Freddy and coaching staff have sat down and selected a really strong squad."
Mitchell's axing and James Maloney's recall means a shake-up to the Blues' left edge, where Cordner is stationed, and the captain is more than confident they will instantly click.
They will need to, given Queensland had a field day attacking that side of the field in game one.
"We have Jack [Wighton], and I've played a lot of footy with Jimmy," Cordner said.
"We know how each other play, he's been there and done it before and the last few weeks at Penrith he has been outstanding. He's a confidence player and will back himself and that's what we need. He doesn't take a backward step – that's what we love about Jimmy. Whenever he pulls on the jersey he's full of passion and pride and will do anything to win."
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