The ongoing saga surrounding Latrell Mitchell has taken another turn, as his advisor Matt Rose has reached out to the NRL with concerns over the “personal attacks” aimed at the talented fullback. Rose expressed his worries about Mitchell’s well-being following a scathing attack by Rod Churchill, the son of Rabbitohs legend Clive Churchill. Leaked text messages from Churchill criticised Mitchell and raised further concerns about the situation. Rose highlighted the issue of personal attacks and their impact, calling for them to be addressed and eradicated from the game. He emphasised the importance of advocating for mental health and fairness towards young players.
Following the Rabbitohs‘ loss in May during the NRL‘s Indigenous Round, Rod Churchill sent a text message to Rabbitohs chairman Nick Pappas, which has since been leaked. In the message, Churchill heavily criticised Mitchell, questioning his performance and commitment to the club. Churchill labeled Mitchell a “myth” who prioritises the Aboriginal cause over South Sydney‘s success. He expressed his disappointment over the lack of action taken by the club and accused Mitchell of being detrimental to the Rabbitohs.
The Rabbitohs faced further controversy when allegations arose about favoritism towards Mitchell and teammate Cody Walker. Assistant coach Jason Demetriou had to address these claims, denying that he treated Mitchell and Walker differently. Former player Sam Burgess reportedly raised concerns about the preferential treatment given to the two stars. This added to the club’s already tumultuous week, with Churchill’s scathing attack on Mitchell making headlines.
In response to the criticism, Churchill expressed his opinion that Mitchell had not performed adequately in his role as a fullback. He pointed out that the Rabbitohs had failed to win a premiership during Mitchell’s time with the club. Churchill argued that Mitchell’s treatment had a negative impact on the entire team and labeled him as the catalyst for the club’s current struggles. He referenced comments made by Phil Gould, who had previously criticised Mitchell’s performance and appeared to be proven right by recent events.
During the team’s bye week, Mitchell took some time off to participate in an Indigenous cultural camp with children in rural NSW. In response to the criticism, he posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “Can’t hear the noise from up here.” Mitchell’s defiant statement showcased his resilience in the face of adversity.
Churchill is set to present the man of the match award at this year’s NRL Grand Final, an award named in his father’s honor. However, his comments regarding Mitchell have placed pressure on the governing body to reconsider his involvement in the event. Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys stated that they would take into account any concerns expressed by the South Sydney club.
Unfortunately for Mitchell, he is now expected to miss the Rabbitohs‘ final game of the season against arch-rivals the Roosters due to suspension. The Rabbitohs are in a critical position, needing a victory against the Roosters to secure their spot in the top eight and avoid missing the finals for the first time since 2017. The absence of Mitchell will undoubtedly impact the team’s chances in this crucial fixture.