Latrell stars in Origin audition as Souths sink Titans

George Clarke |

Latrell Mitchell (centre) was in everything as the Rabbitohs hammered the Titans 46-12.
Latrell Mitchell (centre) was in everything as the Rabbitohs hammered the Titans 46-12.

Hey NSW, remember me?

As Michael Maguire scours the NRL for a fit Blues centre, Latrell Mitchell is making an increasingly compelling case for a State of Origin recall.

Mitchell starred in South Sydney’s 46-12 demolition of Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday, scoring a try, registering three try assists and kicking six goals from seven attempts to send the Blues coach a timely reminder of his quality. 

Maguire left Mitchell out of game one but may be forced to turn to the Rabbitohs superstar as he looks for a centre to replace the suspended Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii.

NSW must win game two in Melbourne on June 26 to keep the series alive after they suffered a 38-10 loss to Queensland in Origin I on Wednesday. 

Injury has prevented Mitchell from playing for NSW since 2021 but Australia’s Test coach and Queensland great Mal Meninga said on Fox League’s broadcast a recall for the Souths No.1 would make the Blues a dangerous prospect. 

South Sydney's Latrell Mitchell.
Latrell Mitchell ran the show as Souths put the Titans to the sword. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

“He’s got to continue to get better and I can’t see why ‘Madge’ wouldn’t want to pick him,” interim Souths coach Ben Hornby said. 

“He was great today.” 

Mitchell had a hand in everything the Bunnies did right against the Titans as they clinched back-to-back wins for the first time this season and moved off the bottom of the ladder above the rudderless Wests Tigers.

The 26-year-old showed an extra dimension to his game, taking on the lion’s share of the in-play kicking with his spiralling bombs twice spilt by the Titans’ back three. 

“He was outstanding today,” stand-in Souths skipper Cody Walker said.

“His kicking game is unbelievable, he’s got the biggest boot in our team and it starts our defensive sets off (right).”

Mitchell began in imposing fashion, backing up a trademark Damien Cook break out of dummy-half to score and give the Rabbitohs the lead after just eight minutes.

Walker sent Jacob Gagai in on the right flank to extend Souths’ advantage, before Alofiana Khan-Pereira evaded Mitchell to respond for Gold Coast.

Mitchell made amends with two try-saving tackles in quick succession, scything down Khan-Pereira and hooker Chris Randall as the Titans fought to draw level.

“That’s one of his strengths isn’t it? When teams make a line-break they’ve got to get past the big fella,” Walker said.

“He’s got that presence about him where he’s hard to beat one on one.”  

The Souths No.1 sent Richie Kennar over before Khan-Pereira dropped one of Mitchell’s bombs and the ball was scooped up by Walker to give Souths a 22-6 halftime lead. 

South Sydney's Thomas Burgess.
Tom Burgess (left) got his name on the scoresheet as Souths ran away in the second half. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Props Davvy Moale and Tom Burgess continued Souths’ surge, with Walker and Jack Wighton – who was placed on report for a tip tackle – finishing the rout.

David Fifita scored the Titans’ only try of the second half in a disappointing home showing for Des Hasler’s men.

“We were flat, we were just off,” Hasler lamented.

“We didn’t have discipline – both sides of the ball – a side with classy attacking players, we just gifted them field position and too many soft tries.”