Concerned Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou calls out Latrell Mitchell for lack of involvement as his team lick their wounds after Storm defeat
- Latrell Mitchell was quiet early against Storm
- Sprung to life as Rabbitohs chased a result
- Fullback frustrated coach Jason Demetriou
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou believes superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell needs to inject himself into the contest from the outset after a slow start came back to bite his side on Friday night.
South Sydney were off the pace in the first half against a desperate Melbourne side that dug deep in defence and stifled the hosts on the edge even though the Rabbitohs enjoyed 67 per cent of the territory.
Demetriou lamented his side’s defensive lapses in the 18-10 loss, but it was their attack which really struggled.
Mitchell came to life with a try assist, 81 metres and five tackle busts in the second half, but was virtually unsighted in the opening 40 minutes.
He made just 27 metres from three carries as the crowd begged him to get more involved.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou believes superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell needs to be a constant threat across 80 minutes if his team are to be a premiership threat in 2023
Mitchell was virtually unsighted in the opening 40 minutes on Friday against the Storm
‘He probably needs to find his way into the game a bit earlier,’ Demetriou said.
‘I thought the backend of the first half he started to get himself into the game a bit more.
‘I thought across the board we were off the pace a little bit. When we all started getting on the pace and playing like we can, the scoreboard pressure got the better of us.’
The loss leaves the Rabbitohs with just two wins from the opening five NRL rounds with a big game against the Bulldogs on Good Friday coming up.
The pressure will be on Mitchell, Cody Walker and Damien Cook to address the team’s attacking woes, but the talented trio need more from their big men to create some sort of platform.
Only two South Sydney forwards ran for more than 100 metres compared to the Storm, who had all five starting forwards crack triple digits.
The Rabbitohs can point to the fact that Jai Arrow, Junior Tatola, Siliva Havili, Liam Knight and Shaquai Mitchell are all injured, but the problem is none of them are likely to be fit in time for next week’s game at Accor Stadium.
The Rabbitohs are walking wounded ahead of their Good Friday clash with the Bulldogs
And to make matters worse, winger Alex Johnston looks set to miss the match after he came off late in Friday’s loss having banged his head on the turf trying to score in the corner.
‘I think Jai [Arrow] and Junior [Tatola] are another week or so away, so these guys who played [on Friday] are pretty much going to have to be the blokes who strip up next week,’ Demetriou said.
‘We have got to be honest with ourselves in terms of how we approach the game and get ourselves in the right mindset.
‘It doesn’t matter who you play in the NRL – if you don’t turn up to start the game then you’re going to be on the back foot and then you’re going to be playing catch up.’
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