Latrell Mitchell's partner takes grand final swipe at NRL

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·Sports Reporter
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Latrell Mitchell's partner Brielle Mercy is pictured with the NRL star at State of Origin.
Latrell Mitchell's partner Brielle Mercy took a potshot at the NRL over the Souths star's six week ban, which means he will be sidelined for this weekend's grand final. Picture: Instagram

Latrell Mitchell's partner has taken a swipe at the 'NRL system' as the South Sydney star sits out this weekend's grand final due to a six-week suspension.

Mitchell was rubbed out after a brutal high shot on Sydney Roosters rival Joey Manu back in round 24.

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He was handed a six-week ban by the NRL judiciary, a penalty which could have been half as severe if not for Mitchell's poor track record.

The ban has kept Mitchell from appearing in what would have been his third NRL grand final, with the Rabbitohs set to face the Penrith Panthers on Sunday evening.

There was little chance contesting the ban would have worked out for the Rabbitohs either, with Mitchell potentially risking a nine-week sanction had he challenged it.

Instead, the dynamic half-back will be stuck on the sidelines as his teammates aim to win the club's first premiership since their grand final triumph over Canterbury in 2014.

Mitchell's looming absence is evidently not sitting well with his partner, Brielle Mercey, who took to Instagram to speak out against the ban.

"Should have been making his third NRL GF appearance this weekend but the 'NRL system' had different plans," she wrote in a since deleted post.

"Proud of your efforts this year. You get knocked down over and over and only come back stronger."

It comes after the Rabbitohs pushed for an overhaul of the NRL's judiciary system at the start of the year following another Mitchell charge.

At the time, they wanted a maximum of 25 per cent loading applied for past offences, rather than the 80 per cent Mitchell copped for the Manu hit.

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Meanwhile Penrith admitted on Monday they had got too carried away with targeting Mitchell's replacement in their qualifying final loss.

Blake Taaffe will become the most inexperienced grand final player of the NRL era on Sunday night, as he runs out for just his eighth game.

After days of intense build up to their week-one finals clash, Taaffe spilled Nathan Cleary's first bomb but recovered to help the Rabbitohs to a 16-10 win.

"That was probably one thing that happened the first week," Cleary admitted.

"Blake had that early drop and I probably went after him a bit too much rather than going after the field position battle.

"I think it's different each game you get in and the flow of the game.

"We obviously have a bit of a kicking plan going into the game but it changes a bit as the game goes and it's just something you have to adapt to."

Nathan Cleary and the Penrith Panthers proved too strong for the Melbourne Storm in a thrilling preliminary final last weekend. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Nathan Cleary and the Penrith Panthers proved too strong for the Melbourne Storm in a thrilling preliminary final last weekend. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Cleary said the journey back to a grand final began as soon as last year's match ended, with the pain of that defeat a key motivator during the Panthers' pre-season.

He also feels a more challenging season in 2021 than that of last year's had developed a greater resilience among the Panthers' players.

"It's been an entirely different journey but I think that just makes it a bit more special," Cleary said.

"It's obviously been a different year as well with Origin in the middle of the year - that's been a new concept to a lot of our boys.

"We had to move up here (Queensland) and we've been very lucky up here too so yeah it's been a crazy year.

"Different injuries, form slumps, things we've had to get through and then obviously losing week one too was a battle but very grateful and lucky to be back."

With AAP

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