Anthony Mundine's message for Latrell Mitchell before Dragons game amid ugly NRL fallout

Mitchell has been warned to expect some negative attention.

Ignore the haters and stay true to yourself. That's the message from Anthony Mundine to Latrell Mitchell as the South Sydney superstar prepares to return to rugby league following a three-game suspension. The Rabbitohs' marquee player will make his comeback against St George Illawarra at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday night and is bracing for a 'warm' reception from the home crowd.

Mundine, a proud Indigenous player and former Dragons star, called on the Red V army to show respect for Mitchell, who was booed by fans during games against the Roosters and Bulldogs earlier in the season. Some viewed the booing as racist-based while others saw it as the sort of regular attention afforded any high-profile player.

Pictured right to left, Anthony Mundine and Rabbitohs superstar Latrell Mitchell.
Anthony Mundine has urged Rabbitohs superstar Latrell Mitchell to ignore the haters as he prepares to make his NRL return from suspension. Pic: Getty

Mundine, one of the most polarising figures in Australian sport, has no doubt where the criticism came from. He said: "If you’re going to boo then you should be ashamed of yourself. Pull your heads in. You’re not a true Australian.

"The reason he’s being booed is that he's a proud Aboriginal man and he stands up for his people. It’s 100 per cent uncool, not just for Latrell but any player. It’s unfair to do that to anyone, regardless of whether it is Latrell Mitchell or anyone else. It’s wrong in every sense of the word. They should be supporting the game and enjoying it."

Asked if he had advice for Mitchell, Mundine said: "I know Latrell is very strong mentally and he shouldn’t give a sh*t about what people think and what people say. He just has to keep doing him and playing the best he can.

"I just hope it doesn’t get to Latrell. If it was me, it would motivate and inspire me to go to new heights. I wish my brother Latrell nothing but the best and I want him to succeed."

Donny Bell, lifelong St George Illawarra fan and host of the Mad Dragons Vodcast, expects Mitchell to cop his fair share of attention at Kogarah but is confident it won't be nasty. "Rightly or wrongly, I’d expect him to get booed by some sections of the crowd," Bell told Yahoo Sport Australia.

Seen here, Souths superstar Latrell Mitchell.
Souths superstar Latrell Mitchell has been warned to expect some boos from home fans during his side's away game against the Dragons. Pic: Getty

"Some will be more vitriolic because opposition fans know it bothers him and it won’t reflect well on the rugby league community, but I don’t think there will be anything more sinister in it. It will just be fans trying to give their team an advantage against a world class player."

The Bunnies lost all three games and parted ways with coach Jason Demetriou during Mitchell's enforced absence. They sit last after a 1-7 start to the season.