Sweeping across Western Australia in a contagious wave, ‘Latrell fever’ has become evident, with South Sydney star, Latrell Mitchell, receiving a celebrity-like reception at a staged training session in Perth.
Mirroring scenes that are typically observed during AFL finals involving West Coast Eagles or the Fremantle Dockers, the beloved Mitchell embraced high-fives and photo opportunities with adoring fans. It was reported that some might have journeyed over four hours on Wednesday just to catch sight of their sporting idol.
Caught on video, a young fan was overheard exclaiming “He touched my hand – I’m never washing it” as Mitchell was the last player to descend from the team bus.
Phil Gould, the pundit from Channel Nine, questioned Mitchell’s capability during high-pressure games on 100% Footy, despite his apparent popularity on the other side of the continent.
Part of a Saturday Optus Stadium double header, alongside Newcastle and the Dolphins, Souths are set to play Cronulla. The majority of the present 50,000 spectators will be hoping the player with the South Sydney No.1 on his uniform puts on a dazzling performance.
Campbell Graham, Souths centre, stated, “Latrell will be in for a big back end to this year.” He further commented, “It was a great return the other night and he’ll look to build on that again. He’s had a couple of call-outs from people down the street, and after that training session, he was trying to walk back to the sheds and he was getting swamped.”
In the middle of a monstrous journey, Souths are set to continue forward to Cairns the following weekend for a match against St George Illawarra, having just returned from whirlwind trips to Tamworth and the Sunshine Coast.
Depending on the weekend’s end results, the team that loses the Souths and Cronulla match may stumble into the uncomfortable position outside the top eight, with a mere three rounds left to play.
As the unofficial leader of the Cronulla pack in the absence of the injured Dale Finucane, Hamlin-Uele last played in Perth a decade ago for the Sydney Roosters in an SG Ball game. He mentioned that the middle forwards needed to display greater consistency, acknowledging that although some weeks they have dominated their opponents, other weeks they have been “walked over”.