The fallout to the Rabbitohs tough week has continued with reports emerging Cameron Murray took aim at Latrell Mitchell earlier in the year at a video session. Mitchell has been the focal point of criticism this week after his poor display in the Rabbitohs' loss on the weekend.
His one game suspension will also see him miss the vital clash against the Roosters in the final round, which is a must-win clash for the Rabbitohs. The situation is reminiscent of the huge suspension handed down to Mitchell at the end of the 2021 season for a shocking hit on former Roosters teammate Joey Manu. It meant Mitchell wasn't on hand as the Rabbitohs made their push for the finals.
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On Wednesday, head coach Jason Demetriou slammed reports he had been giving Mitchell and Cody Walker preferential treatment in the squad. And a Sydney Morning Herald report also claimed captain Murray called out Mitchell for a lack of effort from a moment earlier in the season.
The exchange, from earlier in the season, claims Mitchell asked Murray to pass him the ball in the future when in a certain position. However, the captain reportedly hit back: "Most of the time, you're not there."
The incident comes as Mitchell continues to cop criticism for his display on the weekend. Roosters great Braith Anasta highlighted a number of instances from the Rabbitohs' loss to the Knights in which Mitchell simply failed to show up where he should've been. The most damning incident came when the Rabbitohs made a break and Mitchell was 40 metres back downfield.
"Tell me another fullback in the game who stands still like that and doesn’t support up the middle of the ruck,” Anasta said on NRL 360. “Tell me whatever you want to tell me and he is not solely to blame, but he is the leader at that club. He is the barometer and once he starts making better decisions and wears his heart on his sleeve (they will get better).”
On NRL 360, reporter Dave Riccio claimed the Rabbitohs were 'devoid of leadership' within the playing group. While Anasta disagreed with the statement, reporter Paul Crawley admitted that Murray was thrust into the role, maybe prematurely, when the Rabbitohs allowed Adam Reynolds to leave.
South Sydney coach defends Latrell Mitchell
On Wednesday, Demetriou faced the media and blasted the notion Mitchell wasn't putting in the effort after a lacklustre performance on the weekend. He said Mitchell is leading by example at the club and moved to quell unrest within the team.
"Latrell is a big presence, as Sam was when he was playing, but to say that he (Mitchell) is dominating the club ... he's a part of the leadership team," said Demetriou, who fronted media alongside chief executive Blake Solly on Wednesday. "Cameron Murray is our captain and does a fantastic job as a leader in this club.
"Is (Mitchell) dominating the club? No, it's a comment that's ridiculous. He was out for three months, who was dominating the club then? One minute, (everyone) was saying we're too soft on him and they're running the club. And the next minute, it's I'm falling out with everyone. So which one is it?"
When asked about his mid-week appearance at the Luke Combs concert last week, Demetriou hit back. "Half the NRL was probably at the Luke Combs concert," Demetriou retorted.
"He slugged a few shots of beer and threw the can in the air, but he was the first bloke in the building on Thursday morning - he trained the house down. He drives the standards inside these four walls."
On Wednesday, South Sydney were called out after Sam Burgess departed the club to focus on the impending birth of his child and his move to Warrington next year. Burgess departed his role as assistant coach with immediate effect, despite there being two games remaining in the regular season. The South Sydney legend, who helped the club win the premiership in 2014, was already leaving at season's end to take up the Warrington head coaching role in the Super League.
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