Horror high-tackle sees Rabbitohs superstar Latrell Mitchell facing suspension that could put him on the bench for the rest of the year
- NRL superstar Latrell Mitchell likely won’t play for Rabbitohs again this season
- Can be banned for nine games after horror hit on Roosters center Joey Manu
- Mitchell charged with reckless class two tackle for his ugly shot
- Fullback missed South Sydney’s 2020 final campaign with hamstring injury
Latrell Mitchell needs a miracle at the NRL judge to save his season with the South Sydney superstar playing up to nine games for the hit that knocked Joey Manu right.
The NRL’s Match Judging Committee came down hard on Mitchell on Saturday, beating him with a second-degree reckless high tackle charge for his ugly shot on Friday in the Round 24 grudge match.
It was one of three charges against Rabbitohs players, with Liam Knight also having to play between two and three games for a hip fracture that injured Siosuia Taukeiaho.
Dane Gagai also faces a $1600 fine for swearing twice against Referee Ashley Klein after making a melee foul late in the match.
NRL superstar Latrell Mitchell is sidelined for extended period after a mistimed hit on Friday against the Sydney Roosters
Latrell Mitchell (pictured with wife Brielle) could miss up to nine games after his ugly shot at Roosters player Joey Manu
But none of those charges will hurt as much as Mitchell’s, after his old team-mate Manu was sent to hospital with a suspected broken cheekbone.
The class two reckless high tackle charge is in fact the fifth highest possible rank of nine that can be passed for high hits.
Mitchell could accept the charges and receive a six-game suspension, ending his season and leaving him with a delayed start until 2022.
Relegating the charge to a reckless first-class high tackle also wouldn’t be enough to get him back on the field this year, resulting in a five-game suspension.
It means he would have to lower the charge by two levels to a grade three careless high tackle, which would get him a four-week suspension.
Even then, he would only return to the grand final if Souths lost to Penrith in the first week of the final, but went on to reach the decider.
Adding further problems for Mitchell is that if he goes to the judiciary to demote it or fight it altogether and is unsuccessful, the ban will be extended to nine games and well into 2022.
Mitchell’s plight is not helped by the fact that he has four priors, three of them in one game this year against the Wests Tigers, as well as a high profile charge against the same opponent in 2020.
It comes after the Rabbitohs sparked calls for judicial reform earlier this year, arguing that the charge should be limited to 25 percent.
Mitchell’s tax in this case is 80 percent.
Either way, it’s a huge blow to the Rabbitohs’ title hopes in what was basically a pointless game for the club.
Tempers soon reached a boiling point after Latrell Mitchell’s hit on Joey Manu (pictured next to referee Ashley Klein)
Sydney Roosters center Joey Manu (pictured) will not play in 2021 after breaking his cheekbone
The 24-year-old went to another level this season as a fullback, offering hopes that Souths could challenge title fanatics Melbourne and Penrith after missing the final series with a hamstring injury last year.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” coach Wayne Bennett said when asked if they could win the title without Mitchell.
“He’s a huge player for us but last year we didn’t have him in the play-offs and I think we’re a better team than last year and pretty good at getting other players to play well for us in key positions .
“We’ve won a lot of games this year with a lot of players missing.”
Meanwhile, the indictment will also raise questions about why Mitchell was not ejected, while Roosters coach Trent Robinson was already furious that the fullback was only a sin.