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'I faked being happy for 10 months': Latrell's frank admission after 'traumatic experience' of clearing his name

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15th November, 2023
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Latrell Mitchell says he “faked being happy for 10 months” as his ultimately successful legal battle cast a long shadow over a tumultuous year on and off the field.

Mitchell and soon-to-be South Sydney teammate Jack Wighton were charged in February for “fighting” outside a Canberra night club during celebrations for the latter’s birthday.

Charges were eventually dropped in early November after the most senior police officer in the duo’s arrest admitted he lied while testifying under oath.

After being found not guilty, Mitchell described the charges and ensuing trial as a “traumatic experience”.

But he had not made his feelings about the legal ordeal known until appearing on the Let’s Trot podcast with former Rabbitohs teammate Josh Mansour on Wednesday.

“It was a long 10 months, it just dragged on,” the star fullback said. 

“I knew I was innocent the whole time and just trying to prove that I was a good person and trying to fake being happy for 10 months was pretty hard. I’m glad it’s over. 

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“It’s something that’s been weighing on me for a long time and my family, probably my family moreso. 

“Mental drag and just a ball-and-chain that I didn’t need. I’ve got a lot of them hanging around.

“I’m happier now, I’m back to being Latrell Mitchell. I can’t wipe the smile off my face.”

While the case cast a shadow off the field in 2023, Mitchell was also thwarted by a calf injury which didn’t help Souths as they dropped from ladder leaders after 11 rounds to ninth at season’s end.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs celebrates with Rabbitohs head coach Jason Demetriou after victroy during the round four NRL match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Manly Sea Eagles at Accor Stadium on March 25, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
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Latrell Mitchell with Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)[/caption]

“It was 10 weeks too long (injured), where I wasn’t looked after the way I should have been.

“(The idea) that, ‘Oh it’s all right, Latrell’s back, we’ll be right again, we’ll win again’, just the pressure of that got to me a little bit. 

“But other than that I think we just lost that drive, that connection too, confidence.”

The tumultuous year has steeled the dual-premiership winner to want to help the Rabbitohs deliver their 22nd title in 2024.

“Everything they’ve been able to sacrifice for me and give to me, I haven’t delivered since I’ve been there in a sense where a comp is something everyone wants,” he said.

© AAP

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