The Roar
The Roar


Latrell's not walking the walk after talking the talk: Souths should be worried after star goes missing against Roosters

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Roar Guru
23rd March, 2024
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One strong impression that was plain to see from Friday night’s Souths vs Roosters game, where the Rabbitohs effectively played themselves out of contention for the 2024 premiership after their 48-6 flogging, was that Latrell Mitchell looked more than a little broken and a mere shadow of his usual confident and belligerent self.

His head was often down, he didn’t run with any real aggression, uncharacteristically submitting easily to the defence, and there was none of that macho attitude that we’ve become accustomed to.

If anything, he seemed distracted, disinterested and defeated, and this in a must-win game against his former club and South Sydney’s traditional rivals.

Heavily booed by the Roosters fans not only when he took the field but also every time he featured in the play, the boo meter then hit 11/10 when he was sin-binned for a professional foul on Roosters skipper James Tedesco in the second half.

In Mitchell, the Roosters fans clearly had an object for their apparent hatred of their bitter rivals in South Sydney, so much so that they seemed uncertain of who to lay into during his 10 minutes in the bin. Thank heavens for Cody Walker.

Mitchell’s impact and game involvement was, to say the least, disappointing, and even a generous judge would struggle to rate him more than a 3/10 for the match.

He rarely called for the many bombs launched in his direction by the Roosters’ halves, did little to help his wingers Alex Johnston and Taane Milne return the ball, was about as effective as an AFL goal umpire in defence, and didn’t really have a serious go in attack.


Harsh judgement perhaps, but probably an assessment that will have many, if not most, Souths fans nodding their little rabbit ears in agreement.

So, how is it that one of the game’s elite athletes can turn in another half-hearted performance like this one? Well, there’s a couple of things we know for sure about Latrell Mitchell – firstly, that he’s a very, very good footballer, and secondly, that he somehow always finds himself in the news, more often than not as a willing participant.

No other player in the game is either more polarising or attracts the same level of public scrutiny as Mitchell, but is he the victim here or is it largely self-inflicted?

Somehow, he always manages to be in the news, either as the subject of the story or as a commentator. Most recently he publicly passed both judgement and sentence on the Spencer Leniu racial abuse charge that had nothing to do with him, and then happily swore his head off on the radio in a post-game interview. Now while this is great fodder for the media, it probably isn’t doing either Mitchell or his club much good.

Just the flak he drew from his recent Triple M F-bombathon would be enough to have most mere mortals attending an open day at their local monastery, but for Mitchell that was just another day at the office and the latest entry in his media over-exposure resume.

Surely it must affect him, it must be a distraction, and it must play on his mind to the extent that he can’t entirely focus on the job Souths are paying him a million dollars a year for.


Underneath all the public swagger and bravado, Mitchell appears to be a sensitive soul who would rather hear cheers than boos and who would prefer to be known and appreciated for his good deeds both on and off the field rather than his contribution to the 24-hour news cycle.

At 26 years of age, Mitchell, like most men of his age, still has a lot to learn, and just learning from your mistakes can take its toll. Perhaps it’s time for either the Souths CEO Blake Solly or coach Jason Demetriou to sit him down and suggest that he avoids media interviews and social media, focuses on his strengths as a gifted athlete, and does his “talking” on the field.

Maybe then we’ll see Mitchell at his best and even opposition fans will be cheering for more.