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NRL News: Souths mull Latrell switch amid Burgess rumours, Raiders lose another half, To'o and Tonegato claim award

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4th September, 2023
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Latrell Mitchell’s place as Souths’ fullback might be under threat, with sources within the club leaking that the Bunnies superstar might be shifted to the centres when Jack Wighton arrrives.

Club insiders think that Mitchell lacks the requisite fitness to play one, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, and coach Jason Demetriou will be asked about a potential move back to the centres, where he starred at the Sydney Roosters before joining Souths.

If he were to play centre, Mitchell would be given more licence to move from his position, while Wighton would be given some of the less glamorous jobs such as kick returning and yardage work.

The Herald also reported that Demetriou was offered to Warrington in a swap deal for Sam Burgess, who sensationally left Souths two weeks ago and will take up a head coaching role with the Super League club for next year.

The Bunnies deny the claims, and Demetriou himself only signed an extension through to 2026 a few months ago.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – MAY 06: Matt Frawley of the Raiders heads to the try line to score during the round nine NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Canterbury Bulldogs at GIO Stadium, on May 06, 2022, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Raiders half on the move

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The Raiders will be down another half for 2024 with Matt Frawley set to agree a deal with Leeds Rhinos in the Super League.

This will be his second stint in the UK following 22 games for Huddersfield in 2019, and comes at a time when Canberra have been giving the half an extended stint in first grade.

Frawley has been a back-up for most of the year but now finds himself in the starting team due to Ricky Stuart’s decision to reshuffle his backline late in the season, with Jack Wighton vacating the 6 jumper and the halfback coming in.

The 28-year-old has amassed over 50 first grade appearances, plus his season in Super League, over a seven year career and is seen as one of the best back-up halves in the NRL.

He replaced Aidan Sezer, who leaves the Rhinos for the Wests Tigers, and joins Lachlan Miller in making the trip north from the NRL for 2024.

To’o and Tonegato claim top award

Brian To’o has enhanced his status as one of the NRL’s most damaging wingers by being crowned NSW’s best player in this year’s State of Origin series.

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To’o collected his maiden representative award at Monday night’s Brad Fittler Medal, rewarded for being a force on the wing for the Blues in their 2-1 series loss to Queensland.

Facing stiff opposition from Penrith teammate Liam Martin, To’o became the second Panther after Nathan Cleary to be awarded the medal named after the Penrith legend.

Cronulla fullback Emma Tonegato was hailed as NSW’s best women’s player, after starring in the Sky Blues’ big game two win in Townsville.

While missing out on the main prize, Martin was handed the True Blue award for embodying the state’s spirit after he overcame a range of injuries to play through the series.

South Sydney five-eighth Cody Walker also walked away with the fans’ choice award, after starring in the Blues’ sole win in game three.

Once told he was too small to even play first grade, To’o has become the game’s most powerful fullback in recent years, for both Penrith and NSW.

“What a massive honour, I was pretty shocked, I didn’t think I would receive this award,” To’o said.

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“It’s one of the highest awards I have ever received, I’m truly blessed. It’s the biggest in as long as I can think.”

To’o averaged 211 metres per game for the Blues in this year’s series, reaching 258 in the final match in Sydney where he also scored the opening try.

“Brian epitomises the attributes of a NSW Blues player as he always gives his all whenever he pulls on the jersey,” Blues coach Fittler said.

“He is a hard worker at training and on the field, and brings a great energy to camp that other players enjoy being around.

“Liam brings plenty of natural aggression to the team and I can always count on him to do a job for me, while Cody showed just how dangerous he can be after being recalled for game three.”

Tonegato’s award came after she had 238 metres and 11 tackle busts as NSW fell four points short of retaining the Origin title on for-and-against.

“It’s super special, to be voted player of the series by the players and coaching staff, it’s an incredible honour,” Tonegato said.

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NSW captain Kezie Apps was handed the True Blue award after overcoming a leg injury to be the team’s best in the series-opening loss in Sydney, playing at prop.

“I am so happy for Kezie as she had to work so hard to just get herself on the field this year after suffering her injury. 

“To go out and perform like she did, and in a new position as well, was inspiring for her teammates and highlighted her leadership qualities.”

With AAP

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