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South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou has drawn a line through Latrell Mitchell answering any SOS call for NSW in State of Origin II, in another blow to the Blues.
NSW coach Brad Fittler is understood to be clinging to the hope of calling on Mitchell to help the Blues keep the series alive at Optus Stadium in Perth on Sunday week.
Demetriou, though, blew any such plans out of the water on Wednesday, saying the strike centre wasn't anywhere near ready for an Origin recall after more than two months out with a hamstring injury that required specialist treatment in the USA.
Mitchell won't make his return for the Rabbitohs until their round-16 clash with Parramatta on July 2 and Demetriou is clearly frustrated the 24-year-old game-breaker is being spoken of as a Blues saviour after their 16-10 loss to Queensland in Origin I.
"It's not about whether he's playing Origin or whether he's playing for us. It's about whether he's fit to play rugby league at NRL level let alone Origin level - and he's not," Demetriou said.
"If he had a broken arm and it was six weeks (out), we wouldn't be asking these questions at five weeks.
"So as far as I'm concerned he's just going through his injury recovery. Nothing's changed for us. We hope to get him back and firing fit and ready for Origin III if they need him."
Demetriou says it's neither Mitchell's fault that NSW lost the series opener on home soil in Sydney last week, or his responsibility to help dig the Blues out of a hole.
"It's a bit unfair on Latrell, a guy who's gone through nine, 10 weeks of rehab. He started the season with a knee injury and that led to a hamstring injury and that's where it's at," Demetriou said on the eve of Souths' clash with St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium.
"It's not on Latrell that they lost Origin I. It's not on Latrell to get back any sooner than he's capable of playing.
"It's not fair to put him out there and he's not able to do the job that he knows he can do."
Demetriou insisted he wouldn't rush Mitchell back early for club duties either if the Rabbitohs were desperate to stay in the finals hunt.
"Just to be clear, I'd love for Latrell to play Origin," he said.
"We all would and Latrell would love to but unfortunately the timing isn't quite right.
"He'll get himself ready to go and play Parramatta in a couple of weeks and, if it all goes well, he'll be ready for Origin III."