Home Australia ‘A teammate protects a teammate’: Jack Wighton comes to defense of Latrell Mitchell after suspension

‘A teammate protects a teammate’: Jack Wighton comes to defense of Latrell Mitchell after suspension

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'A teammate protects a teammate': Jack Wighton comes to defense of Latrell Mitchell after suspension

Jack Wighton insists Latrell Mitchell still has a desire to play in the NRL as South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou rolls the dice on debutant Jye Gray with his job under increasing scrutiny.

Wighton was reluctant to talk about Mitchell, who has been suspended for three weeks to leave Demetriou without star power ahead of a series of games against Cronulla, Melbourne and Penrith.

Rabbitohs utility forward Siliva Havili revealed on Tuesday that Mitchell had apologized for his latest brain blow for using an elbow in a tackle with Shaun Johnson in Souths’ rudderless 34-4 loss to the Warriors .

News of Mitchell’s apology came less than 24 hours after Phil Gould questioned whether the suspended fullback retained a thirst to play in the NRL.

Wighton played down those concerns before refusing to answer questions about Mitchell, who ran with the reserves when the diminutive Gray took over full-back duties.

“Of course he wants to play, but I’m not here to talk about Latrell,” Wighton said.

“If you want to ask Latrell questions, talk to ‘Trell, sorry.

“It’s not my place… I’m here to talk about myself and what I can do for the team.

“I am a companion, and a companion protects another by not talking about him.”

Souths are set to welcome Tyrone Munro on the wing and split the hook role between Damien Cook and Peter Mamouzelos as they look to stop their 1-4 start.

Gray will make his debut in Mitchell’s No.1 jersey after the latter expressed frustration at letting down his Rabbitohs teammates yet again.

“Latrell has taken care of that,” Havili said.

“He owns his actions and said what he said to us as a playing group as the leader of this team.

“He definitely apologized for what happened.

“There’s a lot going on around Latrell. He’s a big name in our game and one of the best in our game, so we listen to anything he says.”

Gray will receive a baptism of fire at the hands of Cronulla, who arrives at Saturday’s meeting fresh off a break.

The cards couldn’t have been worse for Demetriou as he fights for his job.

But Wighton said the Bunnies players had not given up on their coach as they tried to dig themselves out of the mud.

“We’re all behind him,” Wighton said.

“Nobody likes to lose. We are in one of those moments, but we are looking forward.

“I can’t comment on the talk. [about Demetriou’s role].

“All I can do is my job. We have your back and everyone in that building has each other’s back.”

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