Latrell Mitchell picks Souths over State of Origin as NRL star misses NSW meeting

New coach Michael Maguire reportedly held a secret meeting with some key members of the Blues' spine.

Latrell Mitchell and two other Rabbitohs teammates reportedly opted against attending a 'secret' meeting with NSW coach Michael Maguire last week, instead choosing to focus on helping Souths turn things around. According to the Daily Telegraph, Maguire invited a number of leading fullbacks, halves and hookers to NSW Blues headquarters at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday night for a meeting about the upcoming State of Origin series.

The fullbacks in attendance were reportedly James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic, while halves Nicho Hynes and Mitchell Moses were also there. Interestingly, Cronulla hooker Blake Brailey was also in attendance and has emerged as a real bolter to play in Game I.

Latrell Mitchell and Michael Maguire.
Latrell Mitchell was reportedly invited to a meeting with NSW coach Michael Maguire, but chose not to attend. Image: Getty

Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai and Dylan Edwards were also invited but weren't in Sydney due to the Panthers having a bye. Hookers Api Koroisau and Wayde Egan also received an invite, as did Eels fullback Clint Gutherson, but they also couldn't attend.

And three other names who opted not to accept Maguire's invitation were Souths trio Mitchell, Damien Cook and Cody Walker. According to the report, the Rabbitohs players chose not to attend and instead opted to focus on their club amid a disastrous start to the NRL season.


The Rabbitohs are now 1-5 and have won just five of their last 21 games under coach Jason Demetriou, who has reportedly been given a couple more weeks to fight for his job. Reports had emerged that Demetriou would be sacked regardless of the result in last Saturday's clash with the Sharks, but he will remain in the role for the short future.

The fact the Rabbitohs players opted not to attend the State of Origin meeting shows just how dire things are at Souths. There's no doubt the players would have been fearful of the backlash that would have come if it got out they were looking towards Origin rather than focusing on their embattled club.

Latrell Mitchell, pictured here during South Sydney's clash with Cronulla.
Latrell Mitchell watches on during South Sydney's clash with Cronulla.

Latrell Mitchell's suspension a huge State of Origin blow

Mitchell, Cook and Walker have seemingly fallen down the NSW pecking order anyway, with Latrell's three-game suspension coming at the worst possible time for him. Many have predicted Maguire will pick Mitchell in the centres for the Blues in what would be his first foray into Origin since 2021. But his stint on the sidelines will see him miss crucial games to impress Maguire, with the likes of Stephen Crichton, Izaac Tago, Zac Lomax, Bradman Best and Kotoni Staggs handed a golden opportunity to overtake him.

Cook has also fallen way out of favour and was dropped by Demetriou to reserve grade last week. Cook is the incumbent No.9, but Koroisau, Reece Robson, Egan and Blake Brailey have seemingly usurped him at this stage.

And Walker was brilliant for NSW in Game III last year, but his form has been way down in 2024. Hynes, Moses and Luaui would seemingly be in front of Walker to win the No.6 jersey for NSW at this stage.

Meanwhile, Walker has revealed the Rabbitohs' spirited display against Cronulla was all about fighting for Demetriou. They lost 34-22, but the Rabbitohs showed plenty of guts and determination that have been missing in 2024.

"We always try and go out there and fight for the jersey and fight for the coach," Walker said after the match. "We've got tremendous respect for JD and how much work he puts in. We wanted to show that. I thought we did that. You can see the effort and the energy."