Roosters bracing for Latrell showdown
THE Sydney Roosters are bracing for Latrell Mitchell to come out firing in Friday night's blockbuster against South Sydney, with Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend declaring their former teammate plays his best footy when under pressure.
Though Cordner did concede Latrell's fitness remained the unanswered question about him playing fullback.
In what will be Mitchell's first game against the Roosters after months of off-field controversy, Mitchell now has to step up and let his football do the talking after a pretty lacklustre opening two rounds for the Rabbitohs.
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The main reason Mitchell left the Roosters was because he wanted to prove he can play fullback which he couldn't do at the Roosters because of James Tedesco.
But so far the jury is out on whether Mitchell has the fitness and attitude to cut it in what is arguably the most physically demanding position on the field.
Cordner revealed that he hadn't been in contact with Mitchell recently but fully believed his former teammate would answer his critics in the best possible way.
"We know what Latrell is going to produce on the field, he has done that for us," Cordner said.
"He has a bit of a point to prove now I think with everything that has gone on over the last sort of couple of months for him.
"Hopefully he doesn't turn up and play his best game against us but in saying that we are very wary of what he can do on the footy field.
"Knowing Latrell personally he does respond really well to criticism.
"When things are going well for Trell he is an outstanding player.
"But I think he has had a point to prove for most of his career. He has had a lot of pressure on him as a young kid coming into the NRL, and every time that has happened he has stood up to the occasion.
"And I expect Latrell to get back on the horse sooner rather than later.
"He is too good not to.
"Everyone knows the athletic ability of him and what he can do and how he can change a footy game just with one touch of the footy.
"I know that he is going to bounce back and he is going to do well.
"With Latrell at fullback, that is his preferred position so I think the only question will be his fitness levels and what not.
"But I think we know what he can do on the footy field wherever he plays."
Cordner said he had not been in touch with Mitchell in recent times but there was an obvious affection.
"I didn't talk to Trelly during that time," Cordner said.
"I suppose he would have had a lot of people in his ear telling him what to do so I just gave him his space.
"But he has handled it really well."
Asked if the drama of recent months would make him a more dangerous proposition, Friend added: "Yeah, I was listening to Boyd's chat before and he does react well to criticism and I think he will be out to prove a point.
"There has been a lot of media focus on him. Hopefully he can brush that off. It would be good to see him play some good footy, hopefully next week, not this week.
"But we expect him to play well and want to prove a point to everyone but probably us and himself."