Cameron Smith calls out glaring issue with Latrell Mitchell as NSW face Origin series loss

Smith says Mitchell may not have the impact Blues fans are hoping for in Game 2.

Queensland Maroons legend Cameron Smith believes Latrell Mitchell may not have the positive impact that NSW fans are hoping for in Game 2. Mitchell was left out of Michael Maguire's Blues side for the Game 1 defeat in Sydney after some indifferent form with the Rabbitohs in the NRL.

But the superstar Bunnies fullback will return to the Origin arena for the first time since 2021 on Wednesday night, replacing the suspended Joseph Suaalii in the centres for NSW. Mitchell has never lost an Origin series he's been involved in. And ahead of Game 2, he has been touted as a genuine X-factor as NSW look to extend their impressive record at the MCG - winning four out of five Origin matches - to keep the series alive.

Cameron Smith believes Latrell Mitchell may not have the impact Blues fans are hoping for on Wednesday night. Image: Getty
Cameron Smith believes Latrell Mitchell may not have the impact Blues fans are hoping for on Wednesday night. Image: Getty

Maguire has been vocal about Mitchell's positive impact on the NSW side and he and Blues fans are banking on the Souths fullback to be the difference in Game 2. But Smith believes too much pressure is being put on the superstar's shoulders and says NSW's hopes of extending the series to a decider are too reliant on Mitchell performing on the big stage.

“He has come into this footy side as if he’s going to save the NSW Blues,” Smith said on SENQ on Wednesday. “That’s a lot of pressure on one person.

“Granted, Latrell loves the big stage and the big moments. More often than not, he does perform. There’s a lot of pressure on him at the moment because a lot of people are banking on him to come out, have a five-star performance and earn the victory for NSW. If you concern yourself with the one guy, those other players can damage in other areas. Queensland would’ve done their homework.”

The Maroons can clinch the 2024 series and claim their third consecutive Origin shield with a win on Wednesday night. And NRL great Gordon Tallis believes Queensland have a great chance of doing just that as he believes Mitchell won't make the desired impact on the game that the Blues are relying on.

In attack the match-up looks mouth-watering for Mitchell, running at Maroons skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and his opposite centre, Valentine Holmes. With the likes of Jarome Luai and Angus Crichton with him, NSW will likely attack the left all night long.

But Tallis says it isn't his attack that could prove to be the difference on Wednesday night, questioning his impact in effort areas such as line speed and taking the hard hit-ups. “When he’s got the footy, he’s that (good). It’s when he doesn’t have the footy (in the effort areas), like coming off his own try line,” Tallis said on NRL 360.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 08: Former Broncos players Gordon Tallis is seen working as a commentator for radio station Triple M before the round 22 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium on August 8, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
NRL great Gordon Tallis believes the Blues' reliance of Latrell Mitchell could be detrimental as he doesn't believe he will have the desired impact on the game.

"Queensland need to finish our sets and make sure New South Wales are starting off their try line because it’s not a part of the game that everybody loves doing." Braith Anasta responded to Tallis saying: “What’s going to help Latrell is he’s got workers around him. Edwards, To’o, Crichton, these guys are just machines, which takes a bit of pressure off Latrell in those effort areas and gives him energy and potency in attack.”

"There’s also that pressure of ‘if I don’t play well, we don’t win’. That’s a lot of pressure, not too many players have carried that pressure,” Tallis retorted.

Maguire has made five changes to the side which lost 38-10 in Game 1 but none have made more headlines than the decision to bring Mitchell back into the fold. One of the NRL's biggest names, Mitchell has not played for NSW since 2021 and Maguire is relying on the South Sydney star to stand tall at the MCG on Wednesday.


"I've been so pleased for Latrell with the way he has come in," Maguire said from Melbourne's Federation Square on Tuesday. "All the players have really enjoyed having him around and he's in a really good space at the moment.

"People build perception and things like that, but he's been awesome. He has come and been one of the boys and he's rallied around and enjoyed the camp, that's what I've enjoyed about having Latrell around.

"He has been really good at training and he's got a lot of experience in this space, he has played at the highest level and we've leant on those stories around the group."