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The Roar


'I don't know what goes through Latrell's mind': Mitchell on report twice as Wahs dominate sorry Souths

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6th April, 2024
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South Sydney’s horror start to the year has continued with a demoralising 34-4 defeat the Warriors, overshadowed by two first half incidents that saw Latrell Mitchell put on report.

Both came with the score 6-4 to the Warriors and Souths, despite ongoing issues with ball control, defending relatively well.

The first, an apparent elbow on Shaun Johnson, will likely interest the judiciary. Maddeningly for Jason Demetriou, it came when Souths had the ball in their own 20m zone.

“They’re both stupid things,” said the coach, promising that he would discuss Mitchell’s actions further.

“You’ve got to be better, simple as that. I’ll have those conversations during the week. It’s not something for me to talk about right now.

“As a group, we’ll be honest as we are every week and have a look at things we need to be better at.”

On the back of the second, a needless tip tackle on Tohu Harris, the Kiwis scored twice in quick succession at the end of the half and never looked back. It turned 6-4 into 18-4 and game over for Sotuh Sydney.


Demetriou must despair. The floor on completions to win a game is around 73% and they have achieved that twice in five games, with today the worst of the year at 59%. The coach can’t catch the ball for his side.

Not that Andrew Webster will care. His side simply picked up, built pressure and cashed in. Johnson created two and scored two, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad made a strong return from injury and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck celebrated a 200th game in the NRL with a try.

The Kiwis were actually missing five from their ideal 17, with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak a late scratching, but it would have been hard to notice. They’re ruthlessly effective and rarely slack. Souths, on the other hand, are spiralling badly.

Latrell’s bad far overshadows his good

Latrell Mitchell is undeniably talented and, at times today, showed it. It was he who created the break from which Izsac Tui’itupou Thompson opened the scoring for Souths, and he did it again before the first half was out.

He was their best in attack, offering far more than anyone else in green and red and combining well with Cody Walker, as usual, and Jack Wighton, which will give Demetriou hope for the future.


But with that comes so much trash. His alleged elbow on Johnson and his lifting tackle on Tohu Harris were brainless, unnecessary and put his side under pressure that they ultimately couldn’t withstand.

The Harris incident came in the 32nd minute with the Warriors in their own half: within three minutes, they had scored through Jackson Ford and two minutes after that, scored again.

For some players – Jared Waerea-Hargreaves springs to mind in the modern age, or Sam Burgess before that – the grubby bits are an intrinsic piece of what makes them good, and you cop the disciplinary stuff to get the aggression and intimidation.

But Latrell isn’t in the intimidation business and his two pieces of foul play tonight weren’t aggressive as much as they were boneheaded.

Demetriou needs to have a serious chat with his superstar to remind him of what his job is in the team. It’s not as an enforcer, it’s as a creator.

“I don’t know what goes through Latrell’s mind on occasions,” said Greg Alexander on the Fox League commentary.


“He threw an elbow at Shaun Johnson, it was blatant and I said during the call that he’s probably lucky he’s still on the field. To throw an elbow like that at a defender who’s coming in at head high, he’s very lucky to be on the field.

“And then at the back end of the half when Souths had the Warriors under a little bit of pressure he was put on report for a lifting tackle. He knows not to put his hands in between a player’s legs and lift. That’s a no, don’t do that…after that they scored two tries.”

Johnson profits, but he should thank Egan

For all that Johnson has been showered in plaudits over the last year, for all that Harris is lauded for his work in the middle, for all that we marvel at the finishing of DWZ, the workrate of CNK and the stepping of RTS, the difference between a good Wahs team and a great one is the largely unheralded Wayde Egan.

The hooker performs the role that plenty of teams reserve for their lock, straightening the attack and condensing the opposition defence, with the effect that space appears on the edges for his side to attack.

If they don’t pull him, as seen twice today, the Wahs go straight down the middle.


It’s a style of hooker that few use, but works perfectly for Webster. Where someone like Api Koroisau uses deception, Damien Cook uses speed or Reed Mahoney uses his pass off the deck, Egan tends to be about tempo and direction, picking the time to go wide and straight.

The central criticism of the Warriors’ attack is that it can be quite one-paced until the red zone, but Egan has proven time and again his ability change that.

When he’s out, they miss him badly. When he’s in, and playing like this, the Warriors can be anything.