Latrell Mitchell will miss South Sydney's blockbuster clash with the Sydney Roosters in Round 27 after being hit with a grade two dangerous contact charge by the NRL match review committee. Mitchell had a nightmare against the Knights on Sunday and was sin-binned in the dying stages for elbowing Tyson Frizell on the ground.
On Monday morning, the match review committee hit Mitchell with a grade two charge, which has resulted in a one-week ban with an early guilty plea. Because the Rabbitohs have a bye in Round 26, it means Mitchell will miss the clash with the Roosters the following week - which could determine who makes the finals and who doesn't.
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Mitchell was also suspended for the Rabbitohs' run to the 2021 grand final after a high tackle on Joseph Manu in the final weeks of that season. Souths coach Jason Demetriou confirmed after the Knights game that Blake Taaffe will play fullback in Mitchell's absence.
Latrell Mitchell concert video comes back to bite him
Meanwhile, a video of Mitchell 'shot-gunning' a beer at a Luke Combs concert last week has come back to haunt him, after a brutal performance in South Sydney's loss to Newcastle. The Knights took a giant step towards the NRL finals after securing a seventh-straight victory with a 29-10 win over Souths.
Kalyn Ponga produced another masterclass for the Knights, but it was a very different story for his opposite fullback Mitchell. Despite running for over 200 metres and breaking 12 tackles, Mitchell produced two costly errors that led directly to Newcastle tries.
He fumbled the ball in the in-goal to allow Adam Clune to score in the second half, before another dropped ball while on the attack saw Bradman Best streak away to score under the posts. Mitchell's sin-binning capped off off the nightmare display.
"It's just silly from Latrell," Demetriou said afterwards. "He got his medicine, so we'll have to wait and see what happens."
As many pointed out, Mitchell's horror show looks even worse considering he was filmed downing a beer at a concert on Wednesday night. Mitchell was invited on-stage by Combs at the gig in Sydney, and 'shot-gunned' a beer alongside the country music singer. While players are entitled to have their private lives, drinking alcohol on a Wednesday night before a weekend game would surely be frowned upon by the coaching staff.
South Sydney star Latrell Mitchell has been filmed 'shotgunning' a beer with popular country music singer Luke Combs at his Sydney concert.
The NRL star managed to find his way onto the Qudos Bank Arena stage alongside UFC star Tai "Bam Bam" Tuvisa. #9News pic.twitter.com/7FcTbMz5wd
— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) August 18, 2023
ABC Sport commentator Zane Bojack tweeted on Sunday: "I love Latrell. But turning in this performance after his concert 'appearance' is not a good look." Another pundit wrote: "Players deserve to have their own lives and they shouldn’t revolve solely around football. But to see what Latrell has dished up today in a must-win game is a deadset embarrassment. Maybe Gus was right, he isn’t built for the pressure."
Hmm I love Latrell.. but turning in this performance after his concert 🍻“appearance” is not a good look 😢#NRLKnightsRabbitohs
— Zane Bojack (@zanofc) August 20, 2023
This didn’t bother me in the slightest, players deserve to have their own lives and they shouldn’t revolve solely around football.
But to see what Latrell has dished up today in a must-win game is a deadset embarrassment.
Maybe Gus was right, he isn’t built for the pressure. https://t.co/gihW78zWZ7
— Jack Blyth (@jblesfooty224) August 20, 2023
Tipped Souths. Then I saw a photo of Latrell skullling a beer on stage at a rock concert on social media and thought hmmmm. He has basically handed Newcastle three tries today. He ain’t no super star. Souths will be lucky to play finals. They were ordinary against Tigers recently
— David White (@journoyt) August 20, 2023
After chugging beers at the concert midweek Latrell really has started his post season early after today’s performance #NRLKnightsSouths
— Aus Sports Guy (@AusSportsGuy1) August 20, 2023
Latrell Mitchell is playing like someone that is more worried about beers with a country singer then playing rugby league #NRLKnightsRabbitohs
— NRL IMMORTAL (@NRLIMMORTAL) August 20, 2023
Latrell has a horrible game then decides to get binned 💀 souths are done
— Brad 🇦🇺🦘 (@_____Brad______) August 20, 2023
Latrell has been horrendous today 😆
— Bakes (@che2g4u) August 20, 2023
Latrell Mitchell horror show as Souths' season hangs in balance
Discussing Mitchell's brain-snap after he elbowed Frizell, Corey Parker said on Fox League: “It certainly wasn’t Latrell’s day and this, as we’ve seen before, was a bit of frustration. Michael Ennis added: “The elbow wasn’t overly brutal, but it was the intent of the elbow. Showed the frustration of Latrell Mitchell who is the key man for South Sydney.
“It shows where South Sydney were at today, limited to 10 points. They struggled to get going and their season is slipping away. Let’s be honest, Latrell Mitchell has a lot of involvements today, but he is certainly nowhere near his best. Ill-discipline creeping in at the back-end, has really hurt the Rabbitohs today.”
A State of Origin and Australian Kangaroos teammate of Mitchell's, Frizell shrugged off the incident. "I've played plenty of footy with and against Latrell. There's no hard feelings there," he said.
"I felt it come across my head, I wasn't too sure what it was but he got me with an elbow. He didn't get me flush so that was pretty lucky, but no hard feelings."
Sunday's loss leaves the Rabbitohs in eighth place on the ladder on 28 points - equal with the Cowboys and Roosters. If the Roosters beat the Tigers in Round 26 and then upset the Rabbitohs one week later, they appear likely to make the finals at the expense of their arch-enemies.
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