‘Beast mode’: Mitchell to weave more magic in Brisbane

George Clarke |

Latrell Mitchell wants to unleash more magic on Queensland as the NSW centre plots a path to State of Origin glory by helping the Blues win a series decider in Brisbane for the first time in almost 20 years.

Mitchell played in his first Origin game since 2021 on Wednesday as the Blues squared the series with a 38-18 thrashing of the Maroons at the MCG.

Playing at centre, the South Sydney star set up winger Brian To’o and crashed over for a try of his own in an electrifying first-half Blues display.

Mitchell’s lengthy absence from Origin meant there were plenty of questions as to whether he was still up to the challenge.

But the 27-year-old dispelled those concerns with a bullocking 15m run with his first carry of the night.

Latrell Mitchell.
Latrell Mitchell’s intimidating presence in defence helped strengthen the Blues’ edges. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“We were on Level 13 and I was looking out my window at the MCG,” Mitchell said.

“I was dreaming about it for three nights. You know what I mean?

“My first carry I wanted a good carry, and my first carry I wanted to be strong. I did both of those and set the game up.

“To get in that mentality again, that beast mode, this is my arena and I love it.”

His intimidating presence in defence also helped strengthen the Blues’ edges, with Mitchell escaping with a fine for dumping Maroons fullback Reece Walsh to the ground.

“My kids won’t eat for another month,” Mitchell quipped.

The result and Mitchell’s performance created an enthralling narrative for a must-win game three at Suncorp Stadium on July 17.

Only twice before – 1994 and 2005 – have NSW won deciders in Queensland’s backyard.

After being overlooked for game one, Mitchell has the chance to etch his name into Origin folklore by leading the Blues to a win in Brisbane, a task he says will not overawe his Blues teammates.

“They call me Magic Mitchell, it comes and it goes,” Mitchell said.

“Media create doubt for me with fans in that space.

“My goal was just to prove myself right – no one else. I’ve proven a lot of people wrong already, I’m just here to prove to myself that I’ve still got it.

“It’s a great challenge (to go to Brisbane), they’re not going to be easy.

“We had to earn the right, and we did. We just build off that, go back to club land and re-evaluate what we need to do and go to Brissy and have a crack.”

Mitchell said he loved the chance of recapturing his devastating combination with Jarome Luai down the NSW left edge, and credited the five-eighth for unlocking his “beast mode”.

Jarome Luai.
Latrell Mitchell has credited Jarome Luai (pictured) with unlocking his “beast mode”. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Like Mitchell, Penrith playmaker Luai is equally bullish and has no fears of taking it to Queensland with the series on the line.

“Bring it on, bring it on, man … we’re in a great spot,” Luai told AAP.

“Individually and as a group we have a lot of confidence, we relish this moment but we know we have one more job to do.”