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The Roar


'You've got to make your own space': Latrell insists smaller field is no biggie ahead of Vegas season opener

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29th February, 2024

The Trell-Mit brand is ready to go global with the superstar South Sydney fullback declaring the skinnier Las Vegas field will not make him any less threatening.

The NRL has given themselves the best chance of making a splash on the field in the USA, with four of the game’s best fullbacks playing at Allegiant Stadium.

Dally M winners James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic headline the list, which also includes the destructive Latrell Mitchell and ice smooth Reece Walsh.

But there are fears the quartet’s attacking flair could potentially be diminished by the skinnier Las Vegas field.

Latrell Mitchell. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

With five metres shaved off the width due to smaller dimensions for the NFL, teams are expecting points to be harder to come by.

Souths’ try-scoring machine Alex Johnston has told teammates space is harder to come by, potentially limiting a Rabbitohs team who thrive out wide.

But Mitchell himself has no such concerns, insistent the smaller field size will not impact the way he plays against Manly in the opening match.


“When I was young, I used to run around people now. Now I’m 26 or 27, I just run over them,” Mitchell told AAP at Fox League’s launch in Vegas.

“You’ve got to make your own space. It’s a tighter game, tighter field. It will just be feeling each other’s game.

“The entertainment is going to be there, it’s going to be there but it’s just about feeling our way through round one and getting the cobwebs off.

“We’re buzzing. Because we get to do what we love on the world stage now. Trell-Mit has been global for a very long time and now he’s here.”

The Allegiant Stadium field is also shorter, with the usual 100 metres from tryline to tryline down to 94.5.


Lines on the field will therefore be some 9.45m apart, but referees will ensure defenders are back a full 10 for offsides.

Teams have spent the past fortnight training on modified fields, including while in the US preparing.

“The kicking game is one you have to be on as a fullback,” Tedesco said.

“The team rolls down the field a bit easier. The 40-20s are going to be on, so the awareness of the kicking game is probably a big one for us at the back.”

National Rugby League player Spencer Leniu speaks during the National Rugby League – Vegas Promo Tour

Spencer Leniu speaks during the National Rugby League – Vegas Promo Tour at Allegiant Stadium. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for NRL)

Tedesco does fear the skinnier space could stop matches from being as free-flowing and expansive.

“I definitely think there probably won’t be as much space, but you’ve just got to adapt to it,” the Roosters captain said.


“It’s hard too, because it’s our first game of the year. Everyone expects all these fireworks, but it’s not going to be perfect.”

Trbojevic believed the biggest changes would come in defence for fullbacks, in setting the line.

“It’s things like where people line up and stuff that I have to be wary of,” he said.

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“But if you overthink it, it can bring you undone. We’ll play the style of footy we want to play, and then get the job done.”