Mitchell set to miss Origin III with foot injury

George Clarke and Scott Bailey |

Latrell Mitchell is in serious doubt for the State of Origin decider in Brisbane on July 17.
Latrell Mitchell is in serious doubt for the State of Origin decider in Brisbane on July 17.

NSW superstar Latrell Mitchell looks set to miss the decisive game of the State of Origin series with a foot injury.

Blues and South Sydney officials confirmed to AAP Mitchell is set to undergo scans late on Saturday to assess the extent of the damage.

Mitchell is believed to have sustained the injury in the Rabbitohs’ win over Parramatta on Thursday.

latrell
Latrell Mitchell suffered a foot injury in South Sydney’s win over Parramatta. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Coach Michael Maguire was expected to unveil an unchanged squad for the Blues’ trip to Brisbane on July 17, with Mitchell seen as one of NSW’s key game-breakers.

Mitchell missed NSW’s game-one defeat, but made an impressive return in game two, starring in the Blues’ dominant 38-18 win in Melbourne that sent the series to a decider at Suncorp Stadium. 

But Mitchell’s anticipated absence will throw Maguire’s plans into chaos, with the Blues coach now set to pick his third combination in as many games.

Maguire has a luxury of riches available to pick from, but ones that come with several caveats.

Newcastle’s Bradman Best is arguably the most in-form centre in NSW if Mitchell’s scans confirm the worst, but the Knights youngster must get through Sunday’s clash with Canberra unscathed.

Best scored a double on debut for NSW in Origin III last year, but injury ruled him out of starting this year’s series at centre.

The 22-year-old has the most similar body type to Mitchell of all candidates, and was particularly damaging against Parramatta in his last start.

Canterbury’s Matt Burton, who was part of the extended squad for game one, is also an option.

He was a star at Penrith as a left centre, and would offer NSW more versatility with the boot with his towering bombs.

Joseph-Akuso Sua'li'i
Joseph Suaalii could be back for Origin III if Latrell Mitchell is ruled out. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii would be another option, with his four-match ban for the Origin I high shot on Reece Walsh expiring this weekend.

Suaalii would have to come into the team with no football in more than a month, but was invited into Blues camp ahead of game two.

The other alternative would be Manly’s Tom Trbojevic, who was due to make his comeback from a hamstring injury against North Queensland on Saturday night.

Trbojevic has had limited training sessions since going down almost two months ago, but won the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series at centre for NSW in 2021.

Manly coach Anthony Seibold confirmed on Friday the Sea Eagles would not have any issue with Trbojevic going straight back into Origin camp if selected.

“Of course he is (available),” Seibold said. 

“I’ve never stopped a player from playing representative football.

“My thing would be if they are going to take him into camp, play him in the 17, not at 18, because he’s missed so much football. 

“Turbo is an elite player. If he was to get an opportunity to play, that would be wonderful.”

AAP