Latrell’s Rabbitohs debut was a mixed bag. Cook wants the spotlight off him
Keeping Latrell Mitchell smiling is the key to ensuring he emerges unscathed from his dramatic summer, according to South Sydney teammate Damien Cook.
Mitchell made a solid impression in his first outing for the Rabbitohs when he played 40 minutes in Saturday’s trial win over St George Illawarra in Mudgee.
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Latrell’s silky first touch
NRL: New Rabbitoh Latrell Mitchell has setup a Bunnies’ try with his very first touch in the Charity Shield match vs the Dragons.
The off-season’s biggest signing needed just 55 seconds to set up the game’s first try, and looked dangerous with every touch in his new position at fullback.
The only blemish was an ugly attempt at a Corey Norman bomb – an error that will certainly attract more tests once the season proper starts in a fortnight.
“Plenty of the best fullbacks drop balls,” Cook said.
“First real hitout that we’ve had as a team together, 13-a-side, against opposition, not just at training, I thought Latrell was really good.
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“And he’s only going to get better from today.”
Mitchell, as well as coach Wayne Bennett, declined interview requests after the game as he attempts to find some shade following a summer in the spotlight.
The Kangaroos representative was also shielded from a club media day last week.
“We all know how much media attention he got in the off-season. It’d be nice to just keep away from him a little bit,” Cook said of Mitchell.
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“He’s only a young kid. We’ve got to remember that, even though he’s been playing for a few years and won a couple of premierships.
“He’s a very experienced player, but he’s young.
“We want him to make sure he’s still enjoying footy. Once he’s settled in and playing, I’m sure he’ll be happy to speak to anyone.”
Mitchell was one of the last players to exit the field at Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex, with scores of fans lining up for his signature.
His first match for the Rabbitohs came after weeks of intense speculation about his future following his exit from the Sydney Roosters.
The Rabbitohs trailed the Dragons 12-4 in Mitchell’s 40 minutes.Source:Getty Images
Cook conceded it was difficult to avoid comparing him to club legend Greg Inglis, who started last year in the No.1 before being forced to retire due to injury.
“I never compare them because that’s not what he wants, even though they’ve got a lot of similarities,” Cook said.
“(But) they’ve got a presence about them. GI had it.
“I remember when I come to the club, or even when he was playing for the Storm, he just had this presence about him as a superstar. An aura about them.
“Latrell’s definitely got that.”
The Rabbitohs begin their season against Cronulla on March 14.
Originally published asLatrell’s Rabbitohs debut was a mixed bag. Cook wants the spotlight off him
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