Alex McKinnon floats radical Latrell Mitchell idea amid Souths' NRL struggles

The former NRL player wants to see the Souths star move to five-eighth.

Former NRL player Alex McKinnon says while Latrell Mitchell is an absolute superstar of the game he should not play fullback again and says moving him to centre isn't the answer either. Instead, the former Newcastle Knights forward has called on Jason Demetriou to play the 26-year-old at five-eighth.

"All the noise in the media circulates around Mitchell moving back to the centres, and it’s not the right move to unlock this generational talent. The Rabbitohs need to move him into five-eighth," McKinnon wrote in a column for Fox Sports Australia.

Pictured left Alex McKinnon and right Latrell Mitchell
Alex McKinnon has called for Jason Demetriou to pick Latrell Mitchell at five eighth. Image: Getty

"He’s such a creative player, he needs to not be limited when it comes to how many touches he can get each game. He needs a change and a challenge. A running five-eighth is what every team needs to be competitive. Look at the Panthers with Jarome Luai. Cameron Munster at the Storm. Ezra Mam at the Broncos.

"That’s what Mitchell can bring to South Sydney and spark a Redfern revolution. What’s more is Jason Demetriou has a rookie auditioning to remain at fullback in Jye Gray who is an exciting talent. Cody Walker can make the move to halfback, meaning you have your two most influential players with ball in hand as often as possible... I only see positives in Mitchell making the move to five-eighth."

McKinnon's call comes as Mitchell has been under fire in 2024 as he has struggled to find form in a Rabbitohs side that currently are 1-5 and sit last on the NRL ladder. And Souths coach Jason Demetriou revealed he's considering moving Mitchell to the centres or to five eighth to give rookie Jye Gray the chance to make the No.1 jersey his own.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 06: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round five NRL match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand Warriors at Accor Stadium, on April 06, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Jason Demetriou is considering moving Latrell Mitchell to either centre or five eighth after struggling at fullback.

Jason Demetriou considers taking No.1 off Latrell Mitchell and giving it to Jye Gray

Gray produced a strong display on debut last weekend against Cronulla in the first game of Mitchell's three-match ban. Calls have been mounting for the Rabbitohs to concede that Mitchell is a better centre than fullback and to move him back into the centres amid the emergence of Gray.

Speaking on the situation earlier this week, Demetriou admitted Mitchell could find himself in a different position - either centre or five-eighth - when his suspension ends. "It’s Jye’s spot at the moment, and if he keeps playing well, he’s every chance to keep it," Demetriou told the Sydney Morning Herald. "You never know in rugby league. Who is available in another two weeks’ time might be different to who is available now.


"I just want him to focus on each week. He’ll get a good prep going down to Melbourne, which will help. He’s obviously got speed, and he’s a real threat who can make a lot of metres for a little bloke. There’s more to come from him, and once he gets settled in, and we get more quality ball to him, he’ll be even better again.

"We said before the game he had earned the right to be here, and he should go out and enjoy it. One game was not going to define him. It’s just the start."

The Rabbitohs have a bye this week before tough matches against the Storm and Panthers that will show the club how good Gray really is. The 20-year-old impressed for the Rabbitohs against the Sharks last weekend, running for 172 metres from 15 carries and breaking seven tackles. He also produced an offload and 54 post-contact metres in a solid display.