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South Sydney coach's Latrell Mitchell admission after 'embarrassing' display

The Rabbitohs suffered their sixth loss in the last eight matches after their star fullback was a late withdrawal.

Latrell Mitchell and South Sydney Rabbitohs teammates.
Latrell Mitchell looks likely to be back in action for South Sydney in round 22. Image: Getty

Jason Demetriou has offered a withering assessment of South Sydney's performance in their loss to Brisbane on Friday night, labelling it 'embarrassing' and declaring Latrell Mitchell can't get back soon enough. The Rabbitohs slumped to their sixth loss in eight matches and are in danger of slipping outside the top eight by the end of round 21 after the 36-20 defeat.

The Rabbitohs actually led 14-12 at half-time, but had no answer as the Broncos reeled off three-consecutive tries in the second to put the game out of reach. “There was too many (players) that weren’t even close to rating what is an acceptable level at NRL," Demetriou said.

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“I thought at 14-12 we probably earnt the right to stay in the contest, but from the moment Tom dropped the ball off the scrum it just goes pear-shaped from there. Our execution, our attack was poor. That led to a lot of errors, brought some fatigue into the game... But really disappointed with that last 30 minutes.

“I didn’t think we were up for the physicality. I don’t think we came to the game with a defensive, physical side to us and that generally leads to trying to play loose, trying to score every time we touch the ball and not respecting that. It was pretty embarrassing by the end."

Demetriou added: “There were points where we wanted to fight and blokes like Jai Arrow were absolutely ripping in out there and giving everything for his teammates. But we had blokes that weren’t good teammates tonight.

“That’s our job during the week, to find out why and fix it — and fix it quick. We weren’t one team out there, we were a group of individuals looking at excuses, finger-pointing and blame. We’ve got to come together and look inward — myself, all the staff, the players — we’ve got to come together and get this back on track.”

Jai Arrow.
Jai Arrow looks on after South Sydney's loss to Brisbane. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) (Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images)

Latrell Mitchell could provide Souths with a boost

The coach admitted Mitchell's return couldn't come soon enough after the star fullback was a late withdrawal from the Broncos game. Mitchell hasn't played since round 12 because of a calf issue and was initially named for Friday night's game.

"We are lacking a bit of accountability and a bit of intent, and Latrell brings that," Demetriou said. "Our numbers defensively when he plays are a lot better than when he doesn't play.

"Tonight, that is on the playing group. Latrell will bring what he brings when he comes back next week but there are 16 other blokes that have got to find a better performance.

"I know he is ready to go. It is just a matter of getting more load into his calf and making sure that of next week and onwards his calf is ready to go. The decision (to delay Mitchell's return) was made and it was the right one."

Latrell Mitchell
Latrell Mitchell watches a South Sydney game from the sidelines. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images) (Matt King via Getty Images)

The Rabbitohs remain on 24 points with 10 wins and nine losses, and could find themselves outside the eight if the Cowboys beat Parramatta on Saturday. The Bunnies were outstanding early in the year with their defensive clout, but in the past eight games they have conceded a whopping 242 points.

"I am obviously not happy with the points we are leaking but a few weeks ago when we went to New Zealand we had great defensive resolve (in a 28-6 win), one of our best performances of the season," Demetriou said. "We have got to come together and look inward. That's myself, all the staff and the players. We've got to get this back on track."

with AAP

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