Mitchell sin-binned as Souths snap losing run

Scott Bailey |

The Rabbitohs celebrate their first win in almost two months after beating the Eels 42-26.
The Rabbitohs celebrate their first win in almost two months after beating the Eels 42-26.

Latrell Mitchell’s State of Origin hopes hang in the hands of the match review committee, after he was sent to the sin bin for a hip-drop tackle in South Sydney’s 42-26 win over Parramatta.

Mitchell was pulled up for a tackle on Eels centre Sean Russell just before halftime at Accor Stadium on Saturday night, and ordered from the field on the advice of the bunker.

The Rabbitohs fullback appeared perplexed when told by referee Chris Butler he would be binned.

Mitchell’s punishment came as Souths added to the Eels week from hell, with Parramatta slumping to their seventh loss in eight games just five days after coach Brad Arthur’s sacking.

Latrell Mitchell.
Latrell Mitchell was sent to the sin bin for a hip-drop tackle on Eels centre Sean Russell. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)

The result moves Souths equal with Wests Tigers on the bottom of the ladder with two wins, but behind on for-and-against.

But it is Mitchell who will be grabbing the headlines.

The Souths No.1 has not played for NSW since he was close to their best in  2021’s series win. Injuries ruled him out for the next two years.

The 26-year-old looks to be in a battle with Jesse Ramien, Zac Lomax and Matt Burton to be named at left centre.

But his chances now hinge on the Sunday charge sheet – and whether his tackle is deemed worthy of a ban.

Sin bin aside, Mitchell impressed while captaining South Sydney for the first time this year.

The No.1 made an early kick return of close to 25 metres, pulled off a one-on-one strip late and put up a towering bomb for Keaon Koloamatangi to score Souths’ last try.

He also provided a cut-out ball for Alex Johnston to score his 190th career try in the first half, leaving the winger level with Billy Slater in second spot on the all-time charts.

At that point, the Rabbitohs were rolling through the Eels with ease, leading 22-0 after 28 minutes with Jai Arrow, Koloamatangi and Dion Teaupa having all scored.

But once the Eels finally got the ball in good positions, the match began to turn.

Dylan Brown was able to go to the line and put Blaize Talagi over on one of their first attacking raids, while Maika Sivo did well to send Sean Russell over next set.

And when Morgan Harper scored out wide with Mitchell still off the field after halftime, suddenly it was 22-16 and the game was back on.

But with Mitchell filling in at five-eighth after Jack Wighton suffered a concussion, Souths were able to do enough in the second half to pull away and win.

It was in the equivalent match last year that the Rabbitohs’ season began to unravel: they entered Indigenous round in first place before being beaten by the Eels.

In the 12 months since, they have won only six games and lost 18, going from top to bottom and losing coach Jason Demetriou along the way.