Phil Gould has put an end to the swirling rumours concerning the future of Latrell Mitchell at South Sydney. Gould, Bulldogs football operation’s boss, stated on Monday night that the decision for Mitchell’s best position rests solely on coach Jason Demetriou.
Speculations began on Monday about potentially repositioning Mitchell back to the centres, following the arrival of Jack Wighton. This speculation followed a season blighted by injuries for Mitchell, as well as inconsistent performance from the team.
Despite starting the NRL season strongly at the top of the ladder after their first 11 games, Demetriou’s team couldn’t secure a spot within the top eight, losing out to the Roosters in the 27th round.
There are rumours of a potential reshuffle within the team, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, regardless of Demetriou’s belief that Mitchell’s prime position remains as fullback.
According to Gould, speaking on Channel 9’s Footy Classified, Coach Demetriou’s decisions regarding Mitchell should not be questioned by members within the club. He went ahead to say that missing Mitchell was the main reason for their weekend loss, suggesting that the outcome would have been different if he had played.
The discussions on Mitchell’s position are not a massive part of the ongoing post-season review, according to Gould, pointing out that other factors led to South Sydney‘s dwindling form rather than just Mitchell’s position in the field.
Paul Gallen, the former NSW State of Origin captain, also dismissed the suggestions for Mitchell’s repositioning. He questioned the need for such move, emphasising on Mitchell’s unrivalled ability that always stands out.
Following this has been a recommendation from NRL legend, James Graham, for Jack Wighton to consider a move into the halves as he joins South Sydney in 2024. In his experience of observing South Sydney’s performance this year, he said on Triple M that the team lacks patience in their build-up and have poor completion rates.
He also added that it wouldn’t be surprising if they explored the option of pairing up Wighton and Cody Walker as halves.
This brings to question what the implications might be for the current halfback Lachlan Ilias. In response, Graham acknowledged Isaiah Tass‘s contribution to the team, hinting that the club might have promised Tass a certain level of involvement despite their plan to experiment with a Wighton-Walker combo in the halves.