March 8, 2021

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'The reason kids play: JT's massive praise for Latrell

3 min read
NRL legend Johnathan Thurston has showered huge praise on Latrell Mitchell, declaring that the Souths...

NRL legend Johnathan Thurston has showered huge praise on Latrell Mitchell, declaring that the Souths star is the reason why kids play rugby league.

Thurston and Mitchell will be on the same side this weekend during the NRL's All Stars clash which will see Mitchell play for the Indigenous All Stars.

MORE: Thurston wants All Stars to be as big as Origin

Saturday night's clash against the Maori All Stars will be Mitchell's first on-field outing since a debilitating hamstring injury wrecked his debut season with the Rabbitohs.

While there have been plenty of detractors along the way for Mitchell, particularly since he left the Roosters, Thurston was adamant that he remained one of the brightest young stars in the game.

"He can turn a game in a blink of an eye, and although he's coming back from a hamstring injury, having Latrell at 80 per cent is better than a lot of the players around in the game," Thurston told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"If he keeps going on this trajectory, I don't want to put pressure on him or be putting bold statements out there, but he's the reason young kids play the game.

"He's had comparisons to Greg Inglis his whole short career, and GI told him, 'You don't try and be GI, you try and be Latrell', which is good advice for him to try and put his own stamp on the game. That's what he's doing."

Mitchell revealed that he would be ready to go come Saturday night, saying he has done extra work to be right prior to Round 1 of the NRL season.

It's going well. I've worked pretty hard on my recovery, shout out to Souths' medical team," he told Nine's TODAY.

"I've been doing a little bit extra every day so I'm really confident about how I'm going to go on Saturday."

Mitchell will also assume a special role once again on Saturday night, leading the Indigenous team in it's pre-match war cry, as he has done since the retirement of Greg Inglis, and he touched on his inner thoughts when partaking in the traditional dance.

It's just pure pride and passion running through me," he said.

"Doing the dance, we've always represented our culture and waking up our ancestors, and every time I'm doing that dance, I'm waking up my ancestors.

"It's something special to me because I get to lead the boys and it's something that I've ever done before. Every time this game comes up I'm always looking forward to this part and I can't wait for it."

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