Latrell Mitchell was the star of the show in Round 8. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Latrell Mitchell was the star of the show in Round 8. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Shock switch to make Latrell even more dangerous

He produced arguably the greatest individual performance of the year but Latrell Mitchell "could do a lot more damage at fullback", according to rugby league great Gary Belcher.

Mitchell's 26 points were the most by a Rooster in 36 years in their 42-12 victory over Wests ­Tigers on Saturday night.

He had a 10-out-of-10 game when he scored three tries, kicked seven goals, ran for 194 metres, made five tackle busts and two ­linebreaks.

As brilliant as Mitchell has become at his usual left-centre position, former Australian fullback Belcher feels he would be more fearsome with the No.1 on his back.

And with James Tedesco having a mortgage on the Roosters' custodian role, Belcher said he would understand if Mitchell was tempted to switch clubs.

"I can see why he might be frustrated staying in the centres," Belcher said.

 

Latrell Mitchell on the charge for the Roosters against the Wests Tigers. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Latrell Mitchell on the charge for the Roosters against the Wests Tigers. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

"He is so good there but, gee, he could do a lot more damage at fullback. I can see why.

"He would be fantastic (at fullback). Look, if he has to play his whole career in the centres it will still be a wonderful career.

"But at fullback, he could do more damage. If there's a sniff that he's not happy or wants to play fullback, it's unlikely to happen short-term, long term at the Roosters with Tedesco there. I can see why he might be tempted."

Worryingly for Queenslander Belcher, NSW coach Brad Fittler will have Mitchell at his disposal for State of Origin next month.

"In super tight games, if he can come up with those plays - he was almost unstoppable," Belcher said.

"I don't think he can play much better than Saturday night.

"He was always going to be a handful. I love a young bloke with all that confidence. There are comparisons with other greats from the past but he is making his own mark. It worries me he's a Blue."

 

Latrell Mitchell had a superb game for the Roosters. Picture: AAP
Latrell Mitchell had a superb game for the Roosters. Picture: AAP

 

Mike Eden was the last Rooster to score 26 points in a game, in 1983.

Blues chief adviser Greg Alexander said Mitchell was unsuited to the fullback role.

"After last year's series and a grand final win, we have seen a more confident Latrell, someone who knows his game a bit better," Alexander said.

"You've got to remember, he's only 21.

"He came up with some big moments in Origin last year. You'd be hoping you see what we saw last year plus some.

"I don't think Latrell is suited to play fullback, even though he's got so much ability. I think Latrell would have to run too much to play fullback.

 

Latrell Mitchell scores a spectacular try for the Roosters against the Tigers. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Latrell Mitchell scores a spectacular try for the Roosters against the Tigers. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

"I thought we saw a couple of real big moments from him against the Storm a fortnight ago but on Saturday night (we saw) … just about every talent that he's got.

"We saw it all - the hard running, kicking, speed, footwork, decision making. And not just in attack but also in defence. He was involved in that many big moments. It might be his new nickname - Big Moment Latrell."

Fittler also praised Mitchell.

"He understands what he has to do to go to the next level, he knows it's all about hard work," Fittler said.

"The play when he busted through and put through a grubber was off the Richter.

"Without him we'd most likely have less fans coming to the games and less people watching."

News Corp Australia


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