Latrell Mitchell urged to make big move upon NRL return as Rabbitohs face 'awful' truth

The Rabbitohs star is set to return for the struggling club against the Dragons.

Latrell Mitchell has been called to make a statement for the Rabbitohs with the first touch of the ball when he makes his return this weekend as he looks to set the standard for the struggling club. The Rabbitohs languish in last place on the NRL ladder with just one win after seven games after coach Jason Demetriou was sacked ahead of round nine.

New interim coach Ben Hornby copped a brutal welcome to his new role with the Rabbitohs smashed 42-12 last week by the reigning champions. And the ugly list of Rabbitohs players missing due to injury is mounting. The two biggest names include captain Cameron Murray and young gun fullback Jye Gray who are both looking at around 6-8 weeks on the sideline after injuries against the Panthers. Hornby is making a number of changes with the squad depleted.

Latrell Mitchell (pictured) has been called to make a big statement upon his return for the struggling club upon his return. (Getty Images)
Latrell Mitchell (pictured) has been called to make a big statement upon his return for the struggling club upon his return. (Getty Images)

However, he will welcome back key star Mitchell. The 26-year-old endured a tough time to start the season with growing calls for the fullback to be shifted to the centre to allow Gray his opportunity in the No.1 jersey. Gray appeared to have done enough to keep his jersey, until the 20-year-old's latest ankle injury from an Izak Tago hip-drop tackle detailed his season.

Mitchell will get another chance to show he is the long-term fullback for the Rabbitohs up against the Dragons this weekend. And with the Rabbitohs, and their fanbase, at a low after a horror start to 2024 former NRL player Braith Anasta has called for Mitchell to lead by example.

And he wants Mitchell to take his first hit-up from the kick-return and run it hard into the defenders to show his willingness to lead his team forward. “I’d like him to just get the ball off that kick-return and run it. That is the trigger,” Anasta said on NRL 360.

“If I’m his coach, (I’d say) ‘can you just catch it and run? Don’t look for your wingers, just run.’ He can beat two or three defenders, he attracts two or three defenders and then it opens it up for everyone else. It frustrates me that he looks for that pass all the time.”

Latrell Mitchell during training.
Latrell Mitchell (pictured) is set to return for the Rabbitohs against the Dragons.

Mitchell has been criticised in the past for his lack of effort, whether it is his defensive lapses at fullback or inability to get into the game. And NRL great James Graham also claimed his first touch of the ball is important to show the team he is ready to make a difference.

“If you look at some of the new names... They’re going to look to Latrell and see what attitude he packs, what sort of game he brings,” Graham added. “He has the ability to be so infectious on a group that is so down on confidence, that are dejected and deflated, looking and thinking about who’s coming in next year — almost playing for yourself.


“He is so important. His first touch of the football this weekend is going to be so important on the impact it’s going to have in and around this team. Also his attitude at training is going to be massive for these people that are coming in to an awful situation. It’s on him... a massive role.”

The Rabbitohs play the Dragons this week with both teams desperate for a win. The Dragons have four wins in 2024, but have lost the last two in a row. Their 60-12 drubbing to the Roosters two weeks ago was a low point for new coach Shane Flanagan.