Andrew Johns praises ‘selfless’ Latrell Mitchell for ruling himself out of State of Origin decider
‘It’s great stuff’: Andrew Johns touts ‘selfless’ Latrell Mitchell for kicking himself out of State of Origin sack after returning from injury
Andrew Johns has praised Latrell Mitchell’s “selfless” decision to exclude himself from the state of origin decision maker.
New South Wales heads to Brisbane on July 13 with the interstate series at 1-1 after the Blues defeated the Maroons 44-12 at Optus Stadium last week.
However, Mitchell withdrew from the fight to play at Suncorp Stadium in 10 days to focus on Souths, a decision supported by Johns.
Latrell Mitchell has put a stop to speculation around a return for the Origin decider
“Unselfishly, it’s great stuff from Latrell,” Johns said on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.
‘You could tell he’s supporting the Blues’ [Matt] Burton and [Stephen] Crichton. I think it’s a really selfless decision and it was really mature of him.
“There would have been a lot of pressure today, not just on Brad Fittler, but on people within the team, about Latrell, whether he was elected or not.”
Andrew Johns has backed Mitchell’s ‘selfless’ decision to remove himself from Origin III
The South Sydney star returned against Parramatta on Saturday after being sidelined since Round 5 with a hamstring injury. Mitchell recovered from the hamstring problem to catch Covid-19, which made him unavailable for selection for the first two Origin games.
Speculation New South Wales coach Brad Fittler could name the star fullback in his squad for Origin III on Monday, ringing his long-awaited return against the Eels on Saturday, but Mitchell quickly shot down the rumours.
“I’m going to pull myself out, I’m going to worry about Souths, focus on myself,” he said of Fox League after the Rabbitohs beat the Eels 30-12 to cement a top eight spot.
The 25-year-old returned from injury on Saturday and helped the Rabbitohs beat Parra
However, he insisted that his focus is on club footy and ‘himself’ rather than Origin roster
“They have a very good team there in New South Wales. Good luck [Matt] Burton in the centers and give [Stephen] Crichton a go, let him bleed and I just want to really focus on South Sydney and make myself and myself good for the end of the season.”
Souths coach Jason Demetriou also praised Mitchell’s decision to pass up the chance to play for New South Wales as the Blues look to win a series decider in Brisbane for the first time since 2005.
“It shows an honest commitment from him to his team-mates and to his club that he wants to perform here,” he said.
“It also shows a bit of respect for the Blues; after a great performance [in Game 2] he’s confident those guys can get the job done. He’s in better shape than round 2 when he came back [from suspension]†