Latrell Mitchell in fresh Origin blow after shock Rabbitohs development

The Blues have been ravaged by injuries to key players, including Latrell Mitchell, ahead of their must-win Origin clash.

Latrell Mitchell is pictured during a NSW Blues training session.
Latrell Mitchell has all but been ruled out of State of Origin II, with the Rabbitohs playing it safe with the 25-year-old's calf injury. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Latrell Mitchell appears more likely than not to miss Origin II as he continues to recover from a calf injury sustained in the lead-up to the Blues' game one loss in Adelaide. The potential absence of the South Sydney star would be a crushing blow for NSW, with South Sydney teammate Cam Murray also at risk of missing through injury.

The Blues have already lost Nathan Cleary to a hamstring injury, further compromising their best side heading into the must-win game in Queensland. The Blues are set to name their lineup for Origin II on Monday, with South coach Jason Demetriou confirming Mitchell would be out for the Rabbitohs this weekend.

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While Murray is still considered a chance to play for the Blues, the Daily Telegraph's Dave Riccio said Mitchell had all but been ruled out. The news will be a further blow for Blues coach Brad Fittler, who is coming under pressure to retain his job after the game one defeat.

While Riccio said both Mitchell and Murray were considered 'day to day' prospects, he said there was reluctance from both Mitchell and the Rabbitohs to potentially compromise the 25-year-old's season by returning too soon. He said Mitchell's prospects for Origin II had hinged on his ability to play for South Sydney in this weekend's clash with St George Illawarra.

“Latrell I’ve been told needs to be up and running by the weekend to be any chance to be taken into Blues camp and have a full prep," he said on Fox Sports' NRL 360. “I think by this weekend on Friday or Saturday we will know.

"He is out and he won’t play this weekend. He needs to be up and running by this weekend to be taken into consideration for selection and I think it is from both sides.

“South Sydney will not want to send a not 100 per cent Latrell Mitchell into Blues camp. He came out of Blues camp with an injury. They are not going to send him back in with the threat of him missing out on South Sydney games.”

Co-host Braith Anasta questioned whether Mitchell's calf injury was worse than initially feared, with Riccio saying both the Blues and Rabbitohs were playing it safe. Souths in particular were wary of Mitchell re-injuring his calf by coming back too soon.

“Let’s remember it is a calf injury and you guys know it better than anyone that calf injuries are problematic,” Riccio said. “Souths forward Hame Sele for example he was originally diagnosed for a one to two week calf injury as well and spent four weeks on the sidelines.

“They are problematic injuries and they really don’t know how to predict when Latrell will be right. And if he isn’t up and running by this weekend I would think he is long odds to go into camp.”

Injuries bite both teams ahead of State of Origin II

Queensland haven't been immune to the injury bug either, with David Fifita set to miss Origin II thanks to a concussion stemming from the Gold Coast Titans' loss to the Rabbitohs last weekend. Queensland are already missing Jai Arrow and Tom Gilbert for Game II through injury, with Fifita now in doubt after suffering delayed symptoms.

The Titans announced he would miss Thursday night's match against Wests Tigers after he presented with symptoms following last round's clash with South Sydney, which are believed to be from an Origin head knock. The back-rower underwent a HIA during the opening interstate battle but was cleared to play on and was heavily involved in the Maroons' 26-18 win.

Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic will be given a chance to prove his fitness for Origin II after the Sea Eagles successfully challenged the NRL's ruling on his concussion in the series opener. Trbojevic was taken off for a HIA late in the Adelaide Origin with the NRL's independent doctor, watching the game from Sydney, deeming the NSW centre's head-knock a category one.

Tom Trbojevic looks on during State of Origin I.
NSW has been given a welcome boost, with Tom Trbojevic cleared to play in State of Origin II amid concussion concerns. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Manly overturned the ruling, clearing and naming him at fullback against the Dolphins on Friday.

"Our chief medical officer Paul Bloomfield agreed that Tom had to be removed from the field but at no point was he diagnosed with concussion," Sea Eagles chief executive Tony Mestrov said in a statement on Tuesday. "Furthermore, Tom does not have a history of concussion issues.

"Throughout this process, Tom has not been diagnosed with concussion from either NSW doctor Nathan Gibbs and Paul Bloomfield, or independent doctor Chris Levi."

With AAP

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