The son of rugby league Immortal Clive Churchill has launched into Latrell Mitchell in an explosive tirade, labelling him "an embarrassment to the No.1 jersey". Mitchell has come under fire over his lacklustre performances in recent weeks, with his display against Newcastle last week coming in for particularly heavy scrutiny.
As Braith Anasta highlighted on NRL 360, there were a number of instances when Mitchell failed to turn up where he should have been - the most notable of which came when the Rabbitohs made a break and he was walking 40 metres back down the field. To make matters worse, the fullback has copped a one-game suspension for elbowing Tyson Frizell and will now miss the final-round blockbuster against the Roosters.
'THAT IS PUTRID': Panthers player's 'disgusting' act goes unpunished
Discussing the furore surrounding Mitchell on Saturday, Churchill's son Rodney went whack. “If you look at it objectively, he’s been very disappointing and just hasn’t delivered (at South Sydney),” Churchill said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“In fact some weeks he’s been an embarrassment to the No.1 jersey. I think he’s overrated. And sometimes I wonder if he cares enough. It’s a fact that he’s being paid as a marquee player but hasn’t stepped up when required.”
Churchill said he was "speaking from the heart" because he loves the club where his father won 10 premierships. Churchill was also left fuming over the club's treatment of Sam Burgess, who left his role as assistant coach on Wednesday after he reportedly called out the 'preferential treatment' being afford to Mitchell and Cody Walker.
Damning statistics come to light about Latrell Mitchell
Churchill said it was little wonder the Roosters let Mitchell defect to Souths back in 2020 after he won back-to-back premierships in Bondi. While Mitchell was a sensation at the Roosters while playing centre, his efforts (or lack thereof) while playing fullback at the Rabbitohs have always been a point of contention.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported this week that captain Cameron Murray told Mitchell during a video session "sometimes you're not there" when Mitchell complained he wasn't passed the ball. His inability to stay on the field has also become an issue during his time at Souths.
Mitchell played a total of 98 games while at the Roosters from 2016 to 2019 (an average of 25 per season). But from 2020 to 2023 with Souths he has played just 64 games (16 per season). In four years at Souths he has missed a staggering 37 games - 26 through injury, 10 because of suspension and one due to State of Origin duty. In four years at the Roosters he only missed six games (four through injury, one for a suspension and one for Origin).
Latrell Mitchell owns up to 'grubby' act after suspension
Speaking on Tuesday, the 26-year-old said he's shattered he won't be available to face the Roosters in a game that appears likely to decide who makes the finals and who doesn't. The hostility between Souths and the Roosters has never been more evident than in last year's finals series when the Rabbitohs famously ended the Roosters' season in an explosive showdown featuring a record seven sin bins.
"It's what people buy tickets for, to see. I put bums on seats and that's just the game that everyone wants to come and watch," Mitchell told Nine News on Tuesday. "We go back to that 'Sin-Bin Sunday'. That was just a game that you want to be a part of and everyone wants to watch and it just burns me that I can't be there to play that game.
"I'm disappointed. Not only because (I'm missing) the game but also in myself. I've worked really hard to get this stuff out of my game - them brain snaps. I've tried to mature a lot and I haven't had an incident since '21 - that incident with Joey Manu. So I've worked really hard to getting back to playing footy and enjoying it and getting that stuff out of it, the grubby stuff."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.