Damning stat about Latrell Mitchell that Queensland might look to exploit in State of Origin 2

The South Sydney Rabbitohs player is prone to a brain explosion during games.

Picking Latrell Mitchell for NSW was always going to be a risky move for Blues coach Michael Maguire, and even more so when you consider he has the most sin-bins of any player in the NRL this year. Mitchell has been in brilliant form over the last few weeks and demanded selection in State of Origin when Joseph Suaalii was hit with a four-match ban.

Mitchell hasn't played Origin since 2021 and always seems to rise to the occasion when playing for NSW, having never lost a series he's played in. But the Blues can't afford any ill-discipline from their new centre, and damning stats show he's prone to a brain explosion.

Latrell Mitchell.
Latrell Mitchell was sin-binned in Round 3 for a professional foul on James Tedesco. Image: Getty/Channel 9

Mitchell has been sin-binned three times this year in just 10 games played for South Sydney. He was binned in Round 3 against the Roosters for a professional foul on James Tedesco when he illegally blocked his opposite number and prevented him scoring a try.

In Round 12 against the Eels he was marched for a hip-drop tackle, and in Round 15 against the Broncos he copped 10 in the bin for being the third-man in and escalating a scuffle. To put it into perspective, the most sin-bins any player had in 2023 was four, and Mitchell already has three this season.

Latrell Mitchell being sin-binned against Parramatta.
Latrell Mitchell was binned for a hip-drop against Parramatta. Image: Getty

Some would also argue he was lucky to stay on the field when he elbowed Shaun Johnson in the face in Round 5, which resulted in a three-game suspension. And likewise when he wiped out Josh Addo-Carr in Round 4 with a late hit when the Bulldogs winger was already over the sideline.

There's no doubt Mitchell will be on his best behaviour in State of Origin 2 next Wednesday night, but his ill-discipline and penchant for letting his emotions get the better of him might be on Billy Slater and Queensland's agenda. His sin-binning last Saturday when he raced in and shoved Jordan Riki was rather soft, but showed he can snap at the drop of a hat.

Latrell Mitchell in a scuffle against the Broncos.
Latrell Mitchell raced in and escalated a scuffle against the Broncos. Image: AAP

We wouldn't put it past Slater and the Maroons to try and niggle Mitchell in Game 2 and see if has another brain explosion. As Channel 9 columnist 'The Mole' wrote this week: "The fiery fullback found himself in the sin-bin after a moment of madness and that is the downside with the dynamic Bunny.

"Latrell can be easily baited and in the likes of Harry Grant and Lindsay Collins, Queensland have players capable of pushing his buttons. In the pressure-cooker Origin atmosphere, everyone is on edge and it doesn't take much to start a flare-up that could leave a team a man short."

Latrell Mitchell.
Latrell Mitchell has been sin-binned three times in 2024. Image: AAP

After the Joseph Suaalii send-off debacle in Origin 1, the last thing the Blues need is Mitchell leaving them a player short again in Game 2. If he can keep his cool he shapes as a key to victory and will go a long way to helping NSW level the series at 1-1.

“The thing I’m really keen for Latrell to do is just be here, be himself, and play footy. That’s what he’s really good at,” Maguire said on Monday. “He’s playing great footy, and I think everyone can see that.

“He’s getting around with a smile on his face (in camp). I went out and watched him play and he’s got a lot of spirit about what he’s doing and that resonates in his footy. We all know he’s a very talented, world-class player. He’s showing that, especially over the last month. He’s been growing towards what we know Latrell can do.”


But Mitchell doesn't want to be seen as the Blues' saviour. "I'm going to play, have fun and enjoy myself," he said. "But if I put pressure on myself then I'll focus on that all week and my preparation will go out the window. For me it's about creating bonds, getting up to (NSW camp in) the Blue Mountains, rugging up and going from there."