Latrell Mitchell handed huge captaincy honour amid ugly dramas at South Sydney

The star fullback has been named as the captain of the Indigenous All Stars.

Pictured Latrell Mitchell
Latrell Mitchell has been handed the captaincy for the Indigenous All Stars match on Friday night. Image: Getty

South Sydney superstar Latrell Mitchell has been handed the captaincy for the first time in his career for the Indigenous All Stars match on Friday night. The 26-year-old fullback says it is an honour that "means everything" to him.

Mitchell's Rabbitohs teammate Cody Walker was set to captain the side against the Maori All Stars but pulled out with injury, granting Mitchell the opportunity to lead out the team in Townsville. "This means everything to me. To lead my people is an honour that I don't take lightly both on and off the field," Mitchell said.

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"This week we celebrate our culture and get to go and express that in front of the whole nation. This is much more than a game to us."

Mitchell's close friend and former Indigenous All Stars prop, George Rose, told AAP that the captaincy was a "fitting accolade" for the star fullback. "Latrell is a person who is proud of his culture and always represents his people on his chest every day of the year," Rose said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15: Latrell Mitchell of the Indigenous All Stars (centre) performs an Indigenous war cry  prior to the NRL exhibition match between the Indigenous All Stars and the Maori All Stars at AAMI Park on February 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Latrell Mitchell performs an Indigenous war cry prior to the match between the Indigenous All Stars and the Maori All Stars. Image: Getty

"I'm proud of Latrell. I think he has put in a lot of work this off-season and the addition of Jack Wighton at the Rabbitohs has really sparked him back up... He leads with his actions and is a good father and man.

"It doesn't surprise me that they have chosen to put him forward as captain of the Indigenous All Stars side because Latrell plays with his heart on his sleeve and has got a lot of pride in his culture. I am pretty sure (the Indigenous All Stars) were just out at Palm Island, and getting to be part of the community he gets to see the people that he does it all for. He is one guy who a lot of guys in the Indigenous All Stars will be looking up to for what he does as a community man and a cultural man."

Latrell Mitchell looking to bounce back from difficult season

Mitchell has vowed to return to the NRL bigger and better this year after he and the Rabbitohs endured a tumultuous season in which they made unwanted history by missing out on finals footy, despite leading the competition after round 11. Injury ruled the Souths fullback out of the Blues' State of Origin series defeat to the Maroons and upon his return to club footy, the 26-year-old was heavily scrutinised for his poor form.

South Sydney's late-season woes were also compounded by assistant coach Sam Burgess walking away from the club after questioning Souths' training standards. He claimed stars such as Mitchell and Walker were given preferential treatment by the club's coaches.

Off the field, Mitchell also had to navigate a court case alongside close mate and new teammate Jack Wighton. The pair ultimately had the charges against them dropped and they were cleared after a police officer admitted to giving false evidence to the court over their Canberra arrest in February last year.

Ronald Griffiths says Latrell Mitchell is the right man for the job

Indigenous All Stars coach Ronald Griffiths said after Walker had to pull out of the All Stars match, Mitchell was the obvious choice to lead the Indigenous team. "Latrell is a pillar in our community and his work away from the limelight is unheralded ... a magical player who will go to the nth degree to make sure the All Stars camp is a success and leave a lasting impact in the community," he said.

Mitchell has Biripi, Wiradjuri, Worimi and Gumbaynggirr heritage. This will be his sixth All Stars match since 2017.

with AAP

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