Latrell Mitchell exposed in glaring moment as James Tedesco display stuns NRL world

Mitchell's performance was in stark contrast to that of Tedesco.

Latrell Mitchell is facing growing calls to be shifted out of fullback for South Sydney after being called out by fans in the wake of Friday night's 48-6 defeat by the Roosters. James Tedesco starred for the TriColours in another emphatic statement to his State of Origin critics, as the pressure ramped up on Souths coach Jason Demetriou following a 0-3 start to the NRL season.

Demetriou's decision to drop halfback Lachlan Ilias after just two games and dump Origin hooker Damien Cook to the bench failed to pay dividends as the Roosters ran rampant at Allianz Stadium. NRL greats Andrew Johns and Billy Slater were among those to call out Mitchell and his experienced teammates after questioning the attitude of the side and apparent inability to hold one another to account.

Pictured right are NRL stars Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco.
Latrell Mitchell was called out over a horror moment as James Tedesco and the Roosters ran riot against South Sydney in the NRL. Pic: NRL/Getty

Mitchell came under particular fire after a couple of Roosters tries that fans said showed a lack of desperation and positional awareness from the Rabbitohs fullback. He was also sent to the sin bin in the second half for a professional foul on Tedesco but perhaps the most glaring incident came when Roosters five-eighth Sandon Smith put through an attacking grubber kick near the Rabbitohs' 10m line.

Smith ran through the Roosters' defensive line to regather the ball but was beaten to it by teammate Connor Watson, who dived over to score. Mitchell was nowhere near the two Roosters players when the kick was put in and could be seen casually jogging next to the referee near the posts, instead of racing across to try and defuse the try.


Fans pointed out that Mitchell should have been positioned where the ball was and been ready to pounce on it as soon as the kick was put through, like many of the best fullbacks in the competition tend to do. The Bunnies' No.1 was also accused of a lack of effort to try and stop Tedesco touching down under the posts for his side's final try in the 42-point thrashing.

Fans call for Latrell Mitchell to shift from fullback

Mitchell is regarded as one of the best centres in the game, having won two premierships playing there with the Roosters and starring in the position at Origin level for NSW. The Rabbitohs were adamant when they signed Jack Wighton that they did so to play him in the centres, but many critics are calling for Wighton and Mitchell to switch positions after insisting Latrell is not a fullback.

Many expected Mitchell to come out firing and prove critics wrong after the controversy around his foul-mouthed radio interview dominated the build-up to the Roosters match. But the fullback failed to spark his side's stuttering attack and struggled to exert his authority on much of the contest.

James Tedesco's irresistible case for Origin selection

It was a completely different story for Tedesco, who continued his stunning start to the season with a pair of tries to go with 170 run metres, one try assist and a line break. Questions have been consistently raised about Tedesco's future at Origin level after a dip in form at club and representative level last season, but the 31-year-old looks back to his menacing best in 2024.

Seen here, James Tedesco celebrates after scoring a try under the posts for the Roosters.
James Tedesco celebrates after scoring a try under the posts for the Roosters. Pic: Getty

In his first three games, Tedesco already has three tries to his name, as well as four try assists, 18 tackle busts and a whopping 562 run metres. The Roosters captain is averaging more than 187 running metres per game, has been busy in attack and defence and safe as houses at the back for the Roosters, prompting many fans to declare him a shoo-in to keep his Origin spot for the Blues when new coach Michael Maguire names his team.