Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell has been urged to channel his aggression the right way after he was involved in a couple of fiery incidents.
Latrell Mitchell has been urged to tone down his on-field aggression after coming under scrutiny for a pair of incidents in South Sydney’s 40-28 win over Newcastle on the weekend.
Tempers flared in the final few seconds of the fiery encounter in Newcastle when David Klemmer and Rabbitohs forward Keaon Koloamatangi squared off before Klemmer dropped an elbow on new recruit Daniel Suluka-Fifita from the very next carry.
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That incensed Mitchell, who ran in and dragged Klemmer off his teammate, which led to an all-in scuffle.
The stand-in South Sydney skipper was also placed on report earlier in the match for a high shot on Knights winger Dom Young but avoided further sanction.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley said Mitchell was lucky not to be sent to the sin bin.
The fullback has rediscovered his best form after returning from a hamstring injury but commentators believe he needs to channel his aggression the right way as the Rabbitohs eye a finals campaign.
NRL 360 host Paul Kent praised Mitchell for protecting his teammates but argued the all-in melee wasn’t a good look for rugby league.
“That’s just a charade that stuff,” Kent said on NRL 360 on Tuesday night.
“We used to laugh at AFL when they used to do stuff like that, now we do it.
“I respect the fact he comes in and looks after his teammates. I really like that as a captain and a leader. But we don’t need this sort of rubbish going on in the game.”
Braith Anasta added: “Latrell, when he’s fired up, when he plays with aggression, I think it brings the best out of him.
“There’s a fine line and he’s got to find that balance at times because if he’s going to be sent off, that’s the problem heading into the finals, big games coming up.
“But when he’s aggressive, when he’s angry, geez he’s hard to stop.”
Mitchell had his first game as Souths skipper against Newcastle and he has the support of his teammates.
“He has that physical presence out on the field and just him putting the jersey on makes our team a lot stronger,” five-eighth Cody Walker said on Fox League’s Benji, hosted by Benji Marshall.
Walker, who scored two tries against Newcastle, said his combination with Mitchell is only improving as they spend more time together on and off the field.
“We just have this sense of knowing what the other is going to do — a wink, nod, whatever it may be,” he said.
“We spend a lot of time off the field together as well. I think that makes a very big difference.”
Rabbitohs forward Tom Burgess was full of praise for Mitchell’s leadership.
“I think he’s a great leader,” he said.
“Through the week, his projection of his voice to the team, I love how he speaks in the meeting rooms.
“He’s one of those players where he leads by his actions. When he says something, you sort of listen up, you take note. I thought he did really well as captain.
“We had a pretty inexperienced team to be fair that week. He’s been great for us.”
With Martin Gabor, NCA Newswire
Originally published as ‘Fine line’: Latrell Mitchell urged to tone down ‘aggression’ after fiery incidents