The South Sydney Rabbitohs are reportedly considering switching Latrell Mitchell from fullback next year, and have also reportedly explored the possibility of a swap deal with Warrington between coaches Jason Demetriou and Sam Burgess. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Rabbitohs are weighing up whether they want Mitchell to play fullback again in 2024, or whether he is more suited to the centres.
Jack Wighton will join the Rabbitohs from Canberra next season, and can play anywhere from fullback to centre, five-eighth and lock. According to the report, Demetriou still believes he can get Mitchell firing at fullback.
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However the club will conduct a review into their woeful collapse in 2023, and Mitchell's position will be one of the main talking points. The Rabbitohs became the first team in the NRL era to miss out on the finals after leading the competition as late as round 12.
Mitchell's performances came under heavy fire after his late-season return from a calf injury, with his inability to show up in the right place called out time and time again. The 26-year-old doesn't do the 'extra' work that the game's top fullbacks all get through, leading many to call for Mitchell to switch permanently to centre - where he has played for NSW and Australia.
Mitchell became a superstar while playing in the centres at the start of his career at the Roosters. He played a total of 98 games while at the Roosters from 2016 to 2019 (an average of 25 per season), helping them win back-to-back premierships.
However it's a very different story since he joined the Rabbitohs and moved to fullback. From 2020 to 2023 with Souths he has played just 64 games (16 per season). In four years at Souths he has missed a staggering 37 games - 26 through injury, 10 because of suspension and one due to State of Origin duty. In four years at the Roosters he only missed six games (four through injury, one for a suspension and one for Origin).
Sam Burgess and Jason Demetriou swap deal floated
Meanwhile, the Herald also reported the bombshell development that high-powered figures at Souths have looked into the possibility of doing a swap deal with Warrington that would bring Burgess back to the club as head coach and send Demetriou in the other direction. Burgess, a legend at Souths who helped the club win the premiership in 2014, left his role as assistant coach just two weeks before the end of the regular season.
According to reports, Burgess couldn't fall into line with the standards (or lack thereof) that Demetriou was upholding at the club and had expressed concerns about the 'soft' treatment of Mitchell and Cody Walker. Burgess will join Warrington in 2024 as head coach, but many believe he will hold the same role at Souths in the not-too distant future.
"A Warrington official confirmed the club had been made aware of speculation that a high-level Rabbitohs figure wanted Burgess to consider returning to the club he walked out on a fortnight ago," the Herald reports. "Warrington were told it was presented as a potential swap deal that would see Demetriou head to the Super League and Burgess remain in Australia."
South Sydney have denied the claims, while Burgess declined to comment. Souths co-owner Russell Crowe is said to be friends with Warrington owner Simon Moran and helped Burgess land the top job at the Super League club.
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