Gorden Tallis highlights glaring truth as Souths face massive call on Latrell Mitchell

The NRL legend has spoken out as the dramas around South Sydney intensify.

NRL greats Gorden Tallis and Braith Anasta have added their voices to calls for Souths to finally bite the bullet and move Latrell Mitchell to centre. Mitchell is one of the game's most damaging fullbacks when in full flight, but has repeatedly been found out in terms of his defensive positioning and commitment.

Mitchell became a superstar while playing in the centres at the Roosters, before switching to the Rabbitohs to play fullback. But as many have pointed out over the last few seasons, Mitchell's effort and commitment at the back can often be found wanting.

Latrell Mitchell and Gorden Tallis.
Gorden Tallis believes Souths would be better served playing Latrell Mitchell at centre. Image: Getty

The issue has raised its head again after a number of questionable efforts were highlighted in the Rabbitohs' thrashing at the hands of the Roosters last weekend. Most notably, Mitchell was way out of position when Sandon Smith grubbered through the line for Connor Watson to score an easy try.


With the Roosters playing the ball near the sideline on the last tackle, Mitchell was standing way over under the posts expecting the Roosters to kick across field. But Smith was too smart and realised Mitchell was out of position.

The game's best fullbacks would normally be in behind where the play is happening before chasing across field when the ball is moved by the attacking team. But Mitchell appeared to take the easy way out and cheated across to where he thought the ball would go.

Fresh calls for Souths to move Latrell Mitchell to centre

Discussing the situation on NRL 360 on Monday night, Tallis and Anasta both declared it's time for the Rabbitohs to move Mitchell to centre. The club has the option of moving Jack Wighton to fullback, while 20-year-old Jye Gray has been extremely impressive in the lower grades.

“There’s talk that Latrell should be a centre. There’s got to be someone in the system, that’s the role of the recruitment to have a back-up in case he goes down,” Tallis said.

“The fullback has become an effort role where Latrell is a strike weapon. He’s powerful, give him the ball eight times a game and see what he does instead of all that running. Is that Latrell’s weapon, as a strike centre?”

Journalist James Hooper said: “I think Latrell would probably be better served at this point of time moving to left centre. But I do worry about how he would receive that news and react to that."

Tallis responded: “You just have to look at all of his old footage from the Roosters and when he was at his best there and its in the centres. When he’s dominated State of Origin it's in the centres. When he gets quality ball he makes his opposition look like kids.”

Latrell Mitchell, pictured here in action for the Rabbitohs against the Roosters.
Latrell Mitchell in action for the Rabbitohs against the Roosters. (Getty Images)

Former Roosters captain Anasta went one step further, saying: “You look at the great fullbacks in our game and they're there before the play is there. They pre-empt it, they are moving before the ball goes, they are on the bike.

“He gets caught out a lot in defence, he’s very rarely in the frame at the last second when there’s a try or when he’s got an opportunity to save a try. That’s where he needs to improve on. That comes down to fitness too, and comes down to being one of those high energy fullbacks. He plays differently.”

Tallis said Souths would actually benefit from moving Mitchell to the centres as he wouldn't have to do as much 'grunt' work. “They run more than any other player in the game the fullbacks," he said. "Do we want him doing that or do we want him to be a strike player?”