Latrell Mitchell has played down an incident with Adam Reynolds in which he appeared to lash out at his former teammate with his head. Mitchell produced another masterclass to lead the Rabbitohs over the Broncos on Friday night, scoring two tries in the 32-6 thrashing.
However NRL fans were left unimpressed with Mitchell's actions early in the game after he appeared to 'head-butt' Reynolds after a tackle. Reynolds came in as the second man in the tackle, and reeled away after Mitchell threw his head up towards Reynolds' face.
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The incident was rather innocuous, but one that Reynolds was not happy about. The Broncos halfback appealed to the touch judge for a penalty before shoving Mitchell in anger.
Things then threatened to boil over when the referee penalised Reynolds for responding, with a number of players coming together to break things up. "A bit of argy bargy, smart money is on Latrell there," Andrew Johns said in commentary for Channel 9.
Jonathan Thurston added: "You can see there's a head clash there ... a little movement from Latrell that you can see and that's what Adam Reynolds isn't happy about. Tensions are boiling."
Mitchell didn't appear to intentionally head-butt Reynolds, with whom he formerly played with at the Rabbitohs. But a number of fans thought the penalty should have gone against Mitchell nevertheless.
Speaking after full-time, Mitchell took the opportunity to take a cheeky jab at his former teammate. "He was holding his shoulder out there and I was thinking 'mate you didn't make one tackle tonight'," he said.
"Reyno's Reyno, he'll turn up, he's a football player and he's a character. I love him, and I sure do miss him but we've got to move on and do our jobs."
What about the jab to the jaw. Is that not head contact? 🧐
— Breda Mary Lynch (@Breda09) April 28, 2023
When you play souffs you really get nothing from the refs, Latrell the first player to head butt someone then smack them in the mouth and get a penalty in his favour
— David Jovanov (@davidjovanov) April 28, 2023
Latrell smashed his former teammate Manu. Latrell jumper punched his former teammates Reynolds. Why am I noticing a theme here… #NRLBroncosRabbitohs
— Aidan Edgecomb (@AidanEdgecomb6) April 28, 2023
Latrell Mitchell and Campbell Graham on fire for Souths
Some fans suggested Reynolds' actions only served to fire up Mitchell, who proceeded to produce his latest barnstorming performance for the Rabbitohs. Mitchell was quiet in the first half but had some moments of brilliance shortly after scoring his first try when he scooped up Herbie Farnworth's dropped catch and rolled over the line.
He then delivered a brilliant cut-out netball-style pass to Taane Milne, who set up Campbell Graham for one of his three tries. Mitchell then picked up another loose ball from a bomb to grab himself a double.
Mitchell was also on-song with the boot, making four of six conversions to take his tally on the night to 16 points. He has now scored five tries and 42 points in the last three weeks to help the Rabbitohs surge to third on the ladder.
Graham also continued his incredible form and appears an irresistible selection for Brad Fittler's NSW team. The right centre jumped to the top of the NRL's try-scoring list, with his Friday night hat-trick taking him to 11 on the season.
He also set up Cody Walker for the match-sealing try - with his smart catch, turn and offload creating a 22-point lead with 20 minutes to play. "He's doing what he needs to do to put himself in the frame for rep honours," Souths coach Jason Demetriou said. "We just love having him as part of our club."
With question marks surrounding Tom Trbojevic's fitness, Graham is shaping as the odds-on pick in the centres for NSW. He can also play on the wing and did so for Australia at last year's World Cup.
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