NRL 2020: Souths star Cody Walker says Latrell Mitchell has a Greg Inglis-like impact at Redfern
Latrell Mitchell is back after his two-game suspension, and his teammates are expecting big things against St George Illawarra on Thursday night.
The timing of Mitchell’s comeback is perfect with fellow outside back Alex Johnston racing the clock to be fit for the Dragons’ clash due to concussion.
Souths five-eighth Cody Walker believes his star teammate has a responsibility to deliver on and off the field as the Rabbitohs’ fan favourite with the Indigenous faithful following Inglis’ retirement from the NRL.
After struggling in his opening games at Souths, Mitchell has found his feet to rediscover the type of form that helped him win two premierships at the Sydney Roosters.
Walker says the Taree product is equally influential off the field, comparing his impact in the community to Rabbitohs, Queensland and Kangaroos legend Inglis.
“They are pretty similar Latrell and Greg,” Walker said.
“You go to different Aboriginal communities across NSW and Queensland and the No.1 name on their lips is Latrell.
“Obviously, when Greg was playing he was a huge figure in our game, and Latrell has taken that on-board as a huge figure in our game.”
Walker doesn’t want Mitchell to tone down his aggression following his cheap shot on Wests Tigers playmaker Josh Reynolds back in Round 9.
“Latrell was looking after a mate,” Walker said.
“It all happened quickly. Obviously, it didn’t look good, but he was backing up a mate.
“He has done his time now and he is raring to get back. He has put in a lot of work over the last few weeks, and we are expected to have him back.
“Losing AJ was a big loss on the weekend, so it’s a big boost to have Latrell come back for us.
“He has been fantastic for us this season.”
Souths centre Dane Gagai is expecting big things from Mitchell after he worked overtime during his two-week suspension.
Gagai knows the Rabbitohs desperately need their marquee fullback to fire given they are clinging to 10th position on the ladder, just two points ahead of Thursday’s opponents the Dragons.
“It is going to be handy having him back,” Gagai said.
“He is also a very skilful player, so we are going to go out there and do our jobs for him because we know what he brings to the table – a lot of energy and aggression.
“The first thing Latrell said to us was that he is sorry when he got suspended.
“We all understood that is just the player he is – he wears his heart on his sleeve, and he was sticking up for his teammate.
“Obviously, it wasn’t what we wanted him missing the two weeks, but I guess him coming back for Indigenous round, I’m sure he is going to come out and have a blinder.”