Former Sydney Roosters teammates Cooper Cronk and Latrell Mitchell are at odds with one another after Cronk questioned why Mitchell drove to Taree two days before South Sydney’s road game in Brisbane.
Mitchell used a day off from training to make the trip to his hometown, a trip Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett was happy for him to take.
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But after only playing 55 minutes in his new position at fullback in round one, Cronk went on Fox League to publicly suggest Mitchell should be spending more time working on his fitness.
“If I’m being completely honest at this time of year I’m not happy with Latrell taking time away,” he said.
“He’s come to a new club, they’re in a program where he was taken off after 55 or 56 minutes trying to manage his load, so any time away form the game should be spent on fast-tracking his aerobic capacity so he’s able to produce eight out of 10 performances for the Rabbitohs as soon as he can.”
It seems Mitchell has taken exception to his former teammate’s commentary, posting to his Instagram story in reply.
A clearly irked Mitchell suggested Cronk should keep his comments to himself next time.
“Opinions would change real quick,” he wrote.
“I wonder if former teammate and ‘NRL legend’ knew the real reasons I took a trip up the highway?
“Opinionated people need to keep their comments to themselves.”
Cronk says Mitchell should focus on fitness
While Cronk conceded he didn’t know the reasons behind Mitchell’s visit to Taree, the former Roosters and Melbourne Storm player said fitness was imperative.
Mitchell shouldn’t be expected to be up to speed overnight, Cronk posited, but he should still be putting in maximum effort.
“We’re not sure what the circumstances are around him taking time out,” he said.
“I know Latrell. Being happy is a good Latrell and a good footy player.
“From my point of view in terms of performance, he’s had a shortened pre-season, it’s Round 2, I think he should be putting that time into getting his body physically prepped for a big season, because he needs to have a big one.”