Latrell Mitchell claims ‘cracks’ are beginning to emerge at Penrith as Souths superstar stokes flames of rivalry ahead of grudge match with out-of-sorts reigning premiers
Latrell Mitchell has taken a swipe at Penrith ahead of Souths’ clash with the reigning premiers on Thursday night.
The Rabbitohs and Panthers have developed a heated rivalry over the past two years, with Penrith beating Souths 14-12 in the 2021 Grand Final and 32-14 in the preliminary final last season.
And the superstar fullback, who has been named in the team to face Penrith despite struggling with a knee injury, was happy to stir the pot ahead of their meeting at BlueBet Stadium in Round 2.
‘I think there’s a few cracks in the windscreen, so I think we can exploit them and go from there,’ he told Nine.
Panthers fullback Liam Martin, however, brushed off the remarks as innocent banter.
Latrell Mitchell believes the Panthers are showings signs of cracking up ahead of their Round 2 clash on Thursday night at BlueBet Stadium
The Panthers suffered a shock 13-12 loss to Brisbane in Round 1 of the NRL season
‘I think that’s just a bit of Latrell cheek, that’s him, none of us have addressed [the comments] and we don’t buy into external noise,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
And Mitchell’s blunt comments earned praise from former New South Wales star Braith Anasta.
‘I love the fact that he has come out and I like the fact that Latrell just says what he thinks,’ the 288-game NRL veteran said on Fox League’s NRL 360 on Tuesday.
Speaking on the same show, Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Kent also commended Mitchell’s attitude.
‘I quite like that. Good on him. He is an instinctive player and he is an instinctive thinker,’ he said.
‘He just says what he thinks. He hasn’t thought too much about what questions he might be asked. He probably hasn’t thought about Penrith too much to be honest.
‘He is just going on gut feel and that’s where he is at. I think there is legitimate evidence there to back him up.’
The Panthers have a target on their back after winning the last two premierships and making the last three Grand Finals and losing star duo Viliame Kikau and Api Koroisau in the offseason.
A surprise 13-12 loss to the Broncos at home in Round 1 has only heaped pressure on Penrith, particularly after they were stunned by St Helens in the World Club Challenge last month.
The heated on-field spat between Jarome Luai and Jaeman Salmon after the loss to the Broncos only added to the feeling all is not right with the reigning premiers.
Speaking on Nine’s Footy Show on Sunday, Billy Slater suggested the argument should have been kept private.
The Panthers beat Souths in the 2021 Grand Final and in last season’s preliminary final (above)
The superstar fullback has been cleared to face the reigning premiers on Thursday
Penrith fullback Liam Martin has dismissed Mitchell’s comments as innocent banter
‘It’s not ideal they did it in a public space, the camera is right there,’ Slater said.
‘Now they have to deal with this – it’s on television, we’re talking about it.
‘Those conversations [between teammates] happen all the time, and it’s healthy to have those honest conversations.
‘If you’re sweeping those conversations under the carpet, then you’ve got more problems. It’s not so much about it happening, it’s about where it happened.’
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