NSW assistant coach Paul McGregor has denied any issues with Latrell Mitchell after the star centre sat out the final minutes of Blues training just days before the State of Origin series opener. Mitchell was seen consulting support staff in the final moments of a critical session on Sunday evening before returning for the Blues’ team huddle and facing the media. He denied any injury or impediment and Stephen Crichton filled in at left centre for the remainder of the session. McGregor said he saw Mitchell without ice and believes all players have some issues at this time of the year.
The inclusion of Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic for their first Origin series in two years is hoped to be NSW’s biggest weapon in reclaiming Origin supremacy. Mitchell could start a new feud with Valentine Holmes, who will oppose him on Wednesday night.
Blues enforcer Payne Haas trained strongly after rolling his ankle at training on Friday. There were concerns he might not prove his fitness until the captain’s run, but Haas was moving freely under the lights at Accor Stadium and trained with the entire team. McGregor confirmed Haas’ full recovery and stated that the team couldn’t afford to lose someone of his caliber. Haas is expected to start on the front row alongside close mate and Origin debutant Tevita Pangai jnr, with Junior Paulo set to come off the bench.
The Blues will travel to Adelaide on Monday to finalise their preparations before the game.