Origin is a special competition, from its unique nature fostered by a state duopoly on the NRL to the passion it ignites that is generally reserved for only the fiercest international sporting rivalries.
Latrell Mitchell has given a strong indication he’ll be fit for next week’s second State of Origin, claiming he’ll only have a couple of days with a stiff neck after being injured on Friday night.
Fears were raised for the NSW centre after he was stretchered off in a neck brace and on a medicab early in the second half of the Sydney Roosters’ flogging of Penrith at Allianz Stadium.
Mitchell’s injury capped off a horror night of NRL for both State of Origin coaches, with Blues prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard suffering a suspected broken jaw and Queenslanders Dylan Napa (ankle) and Michael Morgan (bicep) also hurt.
But Mitchell, who turned 21 on Saturday, took to social media to confirm his injury was not serious after he’d earlier been spotted sitting up in the Roosters’ sheds.
“Hey everyone, just would like to say I’m feeling the love, gratefully nothing is serious,” he posted on an Instagram story late on Friday night.
“Couple (of) days with a stiff neck but happy that’s all it will be!!!
“Anyways wish me happy birthday on 21 once lol.”
The news will give Mitchell nine days to recover from the blow before the Blues attempt to claim just their second series win in 12 years at ANZ Stadium after the first-up success in Melbourne.
Mitchell again looked dangerous for the Roosters on Friday night before the injury, having a hand in one try when he stepped before the line and provided a flick pass to Luke Keary who found Zane Tetevano to score.
But his night came to an end when he got into an awkward position in a Nathan Cleary tackle, and laid still on the ground for several minutes before he was taken from the ground.
“It’s not good at all when you see someone go down like that,” Roosters and NSW captain Boyd Cordner said.
“Straight away I was close to him and he was saying it was his neck.
“You don’t want to see that in our game – especially one of your teammates.
“He’s in good hands now with our medical staff. By all reports he is doing good. His health is the number one priority right now.”