Mitchell in line for NSW recall as Broncos hatch plot

Joel Gould |

South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell has scored six tries in his past four games against Brisbane.
South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell has scored six tries in his past four games against Brisbane.

Latrell Mitchell is the focal point of Brisbane’s trip to play South Sydney as a NSW recall goes on the line for the in-form No.1. 

The Broncos have a plan to make Mitchell work hard in Sydney on Friday night and cover a lot of turf. That plan revolves around half Jock Madden’s kicking game being astute, while not underestimating the devastation Mitchell can cause if given a free rein.

“He will be there tomorrow night the big fella, and we will be aware of his presence,” Broncos coach Kevin Walters said of Mitchell.

When Mitchell is on his game the Rabbitohs are usually on fire.

The Broncos must nullify his impact or risk watching him create havoc, as the 26-year-old did in a masterclass display against Gold Coast last round. 

Mitchell’s recent record against the Broncos is impressive. He has four wins from the past five clashes and has scored six tries in his past four appearances against Brisbane. 

With a centre spot up for grabs for the Blues in game two of the State of Origin series, Mitchell is in contention with Cronulla’s Jesse Ramien, Newcastle’s Bradman Best and versatile Canterbury No.6 Matt Burton, who played centre in Penrith’s 2021 grand final win. 

Mitchell’s performance against the Titans would have impressed Blues coach Michael Maguire. It was his commitment in defence with cover tackles and positioning that caught the eye as much as his long-range try and three try assists. 

Mitchell tore the Maroons to shreds in the 2021 Origin series, but injury has prevented him from being selected since. Overlooked for NSW’s 38-10 loss to the Maroons in game one, he can make a strong case for a recall with another dominant display against the Broncos.

That’s where Madden’s kicking comes in. Rather than give Mitchell the ball in comfort, he must get his angles right and make the Rabbitohs fullback cover plenty of territory.

Madden has had some strong kicking displays and others that were not on-point.

“It’s been good but always can get better,” Walters said.

“Kicking is hard in the modern game with the back five of teams working so hard on their catching. 

“Jock has been strong since he’s come in and he is another one who will kick really well and be smart about his kick choice.”

The Rabbitohs are gunning for their third win a row, while the Broncos have lost their past two matches.