South Sydney star Latrell Mitchell has taken a subtle dig at Karl Stefanovic after the TV personality criticised his role in the NRL's controversial new advertising campaign.
The NRL unveiled its new advertising campaign on Monday - a throwback to Tina Turner’s iconic hit Simply The Best - but it's proved particularly divisive.
'SLOPPY AND INCOMPETENT': Fans slam NRL ad over 'litany of errors'
The two-minute ad features the Super League war, South Sydney’s expulsion from the comp, as well as some of the more memorable grand final triumphs of the last few decades.
A number of prominent figures believe the ad is too ‘politically correct’, criticising certain aspects of the ad such as a long shot of Mitchell draped in an Aboriginal flag, Macklemore’s performance at the 2017 grand final in tribute to same-sex marriage, and the famous kiss between Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki after the partners played against each other in a State of Origin match.
Thirty years on, #NRL is still simply the best.
See the revival of Tina Turner's famous 1990 campaign, featuring some of the biggest moments in footy from the past three decades 🏉 pic.twitter.com/2wU39u6sMk
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) March 2, 2020
On Tuesday, Today Show co-host Stefanovic took particular exception to the scene with Mitchell standing by himself draped in the Aboriginal flag, insisting it does not promote inclusion within the game.
“How do you unite the game when you have a picture of Latrell Mitchell on his own with the Aboriginal flag around him?” Stefanovic said on Tuesday.
“That’s not unifying, that’s divisive.
“It’s putting him on his own.
“Rugby league is about indigenous (people) and everyone else coming together for the sport, not putting anyone on their own.”
Stefanovic's opinion drew plenty of opposition from fans on social media and Mitchell was quick to share some of the comments on his personal Instagram account.
“This ad shows (Charnze) Nicoll-Klokstad by himself, shows (Tyson) Frizell by himself. Yet Karl picks out Latrell standing by himself with the Aboriginal flag as ‘divisive’,” read one post that Mitchell shared.
“Once again blackfullas can’t be proud of our culture without a whiter person’s approval.
“Once again people must shut up and play footy, so that we can avoid offending the racists of our country.”
Another post shared by Mitchell described the criticism of his place in the NRL's ad as "disgusting".
NRL set to tweak ad amid viewer backlash
The NRL is set to change aspects of their advertising campaign after copping backlash from the rugby league community.
Part of the criticism surrounds factual inaccuracies from the ad that don't seem to make sense.
The first error appears in the first few clips as footage shows the Trbojevic brothers playing around with a league ball in the backyard.
Super League footage is also running on the television as the date 1996 pops up as Tom and Jake play around.
But one fan pointed out Tom Trbojevic was born on 2 October, 1996, well after the Super League war had started.
The toddler in the photo also appears way too old to be Tom.
— The Roast (@thenrlroast) March 2, 2020
The second gaffe comes when a fan appears in a John Sutton jersey during the 2000 South Sydney Rabbitohs march against their exclusion from the NRL.
The fan hold up a sign, which reads: ‘Save our Souths’.
But Sutton did not debut for the Rabbitohs until 2004.
However, the NRL told The Daily Telegraph: “it’s a metaphor showing Sutton going from angry Souths fan to premiership winner.”
— Bob (@ChiefNRLCritic) March 2, 2020
The final gaffe was spotted in an early version sent to news editors, showing Hazem El Masri carried off Belmore Oval in his final game in 2009.
But the original caption showed the date as 2010.
Does the nrl ad have hazem getting chaired off in 2009 but say belmore 2010??
— THE TROOPER (@peewee283) March 2, 2020
The final version fixed this error before it went to air on Monday, according to The Daily Telegraph.