'Easy target': Cam Smith weighs in on 'divisive' Latrell Mitchell saga

Rugby league's most-capped player Cameron Smith has thrown his support behind the NRL's new advertisement, which celebrates milestones of the past 30 years since Tina Turner's iconic promo.

As well as reviving Turner's famous "Simply the Best" anthem from the beloved 1990 campaign, a theme of inclusiveness runs through the ad which has divided critics ahead of the 2020 NRL season.

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Proud Indigenous star Latrell Mitchell featured prominently in the ad, seen gazing out towards the ocean with the Aboriginal flag draped across his shoulders.

TV personality Karl Stefanovic was particularly critical of the scene with Mitchell, arguing that it wasn't inclusive at all because the star was standing by himself.

“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 The Today Show 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.”

Mitchell subtly hit back at Stefanovic after sharing several posts from fans which slammed the TV host’s comments.

Latrell Mitchell's role in the NRL's new ad has come under scrutiny. Pic: Getty/NRL

Now former Maroons and Kangaroos captain Smith has weighed in on the controversial ad, which many critics have labelled "too political" and "divisive".

‘It sends a message that our game includes everyone’

"Personally I like the ad, I think the NRL have done a great job with the inclusiveness of everyone," Smith told media on Thursday.

"It sends a message that our game includes everyone. We're a game that is welcoming to all types of people of all different cultures and beliefs.

"I actually think they did a good job, I enjoyed it."

Smith, who is portrayed as a small boy watching Turner's original ad, said he doesn't understand the vitriol Mitchell cops from sections of the media and critics.

"He's one of the better players in the game so he's an easy target," Smith said.

Cam Smith is a fan of the NRL's divisive new ad campaign. Pic: Getty

"Everyone knows who Latrell Mitchell is so people want to make headlines and get people reading their content they use the big names."

Smith said watching the ad brought him back to the early 1990s when he was watching rugby league in his loungeroom as a diehard Brisbane fan.

"The best thing about it for me, when I saw the first five seconds when the little Cam Smith was in his loungeroom, it actually took me back to when I was in my loungeroom and I remember watching Tina Turner sing that song," he said.

"I was a massive Broncos fan at the time, they dominated during those times ...

"I still remember Alfie (Langer) and Kevvie (Walters) grabbing Tina Turner after they'd won the grand final during the song bouncing up and down and she had no idea, she was just lip syncing something.

"It brought up a lot of memories growing up as a young fella and just starting out in rugby league."

With AAP