Concreter looks for a crack in Latrell’s Origin defence

George Clarke |

He was sore and out of pocket, but the concreter who gave up a day on the tools to mark Latrell Mitchell reckons he’d do it all again.

Semisi Kioa has a story to tell when he returns to the worksite after he was tasked with shutting down Mitchell as the NSW Blues faced an opposed session at their Blue Mountain base on Thursday. 

Blues coach Michael Maguire drafted in Kioa’s St Marys side, who play in the third-tier Ron Massey Cup, to ready his side for State of Origin II in Melbourne next Wednesday.

Kioa, who runs his own concreting business, had the unenviable task of marking up on returning Blues centre Mitchell and felt the full force of the South Sydney star.

“I had to take the day off to face the Blues … it’s cost me a few bucks but it was worth it,” said Kioa, who previously spent time in the lower grades at Manly and Cronulla. 

“I marked up on Latrell and it was tough, he’s a tough player, he plays with the mongrel and he was giving me some tips, showing me the ropes how he plays.

“To mark up on him was a good experience … he’s got the right-hand fend and I was trying to not get pushed off by that.”

Blues centre Stephen Crichton missed the chance to mark up on his brother Christian, who plays for St Marys but couldn’t get out of work at a hiring company to face NSW.

“All of us had to take a day off work to come in and participate in the opposed session,” said St Marys coach Darren Baker. 

“We’ve got schoolteachers, people who work in the mines, welfare officers, mechanical engineers.

“We’re one of the strongest teams in the Ron Massey Cup, we see ourselves as a pretty good football team, but obviously it’s a different level.” 

Blues players were complimentary of St Marys’ efforts with Mitchell’s South Sydney teammate Cameron Murray revealing Kioa left an impression.

“Latrell said in a passing comment that the fella he was marking up was a pretty strong guy,” Murray said. 

“It was exactly the kind of intensity that we needed so we’re very grateful for the St Marys boys who turned up and they were sharp, we got some good practice today … we’re very grateful for their sacrifices.”