Latrell Mitchell runs the ball for the Indigenous All-Stars against New Zealand Maori Picture: Getty Images
Latrell Mitchell runs the ball for the Indigenous All-Stars against New Zealand Maori Picture: Getty Images

Early signs show Latrell can be a No.1 hit

Michael Ennis can see enough positive signs in Latrell Mitchell's All Stars performance to know his controversial positional switch to fullback won't be the disaster some are predicting for South Sydney.

In fact, Ennis reckons when Mitchell consistency plays alongside Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker and Damien Cook it will give the Rabbitohs one of the NRL's most dangerous spines.

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett was also happy with what he saw and is not about to do a backflip on his plans ahead of this weekend's Charity Shield in Mudgee.

He will remember being criticised for moving Darren Lockyer from fullback to five-eighth many years ago.

In what is shaping up as ­another big week for the Rabbitohs, they will also announce Reynolds as the new captain when the team is named to take on St George Illawarra.

 

He will get the nod ahead of Walker and Cook.

Souths fans will get their first chance to watch their entire new spine in action in the Charity Shield and Ennis believes Mitchell will be better for the run, especially after a shortened pre-season.

Andrew Johns led the criticism last week when he said he did not think Mitchell was a fullback but rather "an out and out centre", and that the increased workload would "dull his effectiveness".

However, while Mitchell was far from a standout on the Gold Coast, Ennis believes he should not be disappointed.

"I agree with what Laurie Daley said after the game," Ennis said.

 

Latrell Mitchell will get another run out in the No.1 jersey this weekend. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images
Latrell Mitchell will get another run out in the No.1 jersey this weekend. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

 

"I thought Latrell was never going to be the finished product, but his effort was good and in his attention to detail you could see him thinking where he needed to be.

"Defensively at times you could see him talking and moving the side around, so I thought it was a really good start for him."

Plenty would have liked to see Mitchell get more involved in attack but Ennis said he thought the All Stars game was always going to be tough for the star to impose himself on.

"Just because, one, the speed of the game that it was played at, but also they threw a bit of caution to the wind at times," Ennis said.

 

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"So it wasn't like he could get a lot of rhythm because there was a bit of turnover.

"But I think just the timing is what is important. I don't think it was about how well he played in this game.

"I think it was just about him getting out there and getting himself started.

"Because the key is for ­Latrell to play back-to-back games with Reynolds and Walker and Cook at Souths. If they can stay on the field together, there is some talent in that spine."

 

Adam Reynolds will be announced as South Sydney’s new captain. Picture: Brett Costello
Adam Reynolds will be announced as South Sydney’s new captain. Picture: Brett Costello

 

There was also a lot to like about James Roberts in the All-Stars clash. He looked fast and fit, while Alex Johnston was impressive when he filled in for Mitchell at fullback.

Souths' depth at fullback was also on show on Friday night in the trial against Parramatta when Corey Allen put in an impressive effort.

The Rabbitohs are expected to offer Hame Sele a top-30 contract after he impressed in the 28-24 trial match win at Ringrose Park.