NRL star sits on Origin bombshell: report
Roosters star Latrell Mitchell is reportedly considering turning his back on NSW coach Brad Fittler over his State of Origin Game 2 axing.
As the world around Mitchell continues to spin following revelations of the star's private issues off the field on Monday night, it has now emerged Mitchell is seriously thinking about making himself unavailable for future Origin campaigns - even if Fittler comes knocking to bring him back into the Blues team.
Fittler said on Sunday night his decision not to pick Mitchell was one of the "hardest" decisions he has ever had to make.
It was labelled by some to be the biggest gamble of Fittler's coaching career as the Blues head into Sunday's Origin II in Perth needing to win to keep the series alive for Game 3 back in Sydney.
Fittler said Mitchell failed to meet the Blues' new "standards and expectations" in Queensland's series-opening win.
He said his decision to drop Mitchell was a result of wanting to inject "energy" into the Blues' left edge, which was so famously cut to pieces by the Maroons in Game 1.
The Blues have called up Tom Trbojevic and utility Jack Wighton to play in the centres for Game 2, dropping Mitchell and veteran Josh Morris.
"I'm sure he's going to be back and I saw he scored a couple of tries today, but we want to set standards and expectations and I most probably didn't think he matched them in the first game," Fittler said of Mitchell on Sunday night.
"That's the hardest thing I've had to do so far.
"His training was great. I didn't get that sign at all, but watching his footy for the Roosters and the game up at Suncorp... we most probably needed more energy, more input into the game.
"And that's why we've gone with someone that will give us more energy."
Fittler's comments have been interpreted by many as an attempt to kick Mitchell into gear and spark him out of his surprise form slump over the past four weeks.
It appears to have had the opposite impact.
Mitchell is now "disillusioned" with the NSW team, according to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald.
The report states people close to Mitchell believe he is re-assessing his short-term future in State of Origin and will likely refuse to play in the series finale at ANZ Stadium if re-called by the Blues.
"I'm just happy he's back playing well for the Roosters and that's his main concern, just playing consistently," Mitchell's father Matt said.
"The rep stuff is a bonus but the Roosters pay his bills, not NSW.
"His coach Trent Robinson has been unbelievable, and so has [Roosters chairman] Nick Politis."
It is a similar situation to the one that saw newly re-called Blus winger Blake Ferguson "disrespect" Fittler by refusing to show up for the Blues' pre-season camp in Sydney after he was left out of the NSW team in the 2018 series.
Mitchell, who was heavily criticised for his performance and sin binning after NSW's 18-14 loss in State of Origin game I, has been dealing with private issues away from the game.
Channel 9 News revealed a statement from Mitchell's mother Patricia Goolagong on Monday night where she reveals Mitchell was reeling after the deaths of two aunties, a cousin, and a great uncle in the past two months.
"Latrell has been dealing with this the best way he can, but this will effect any young person as you can imagine," the statement said.
Channel 9 also reports Mitchell's brother is due to face court in August.
"This has really effect Latrell. He has never had to deal with anything like this," Patricia said.
Meanwhile, Queensland legend Darren Lockyer has declared Fittler missed a chance to jolt Mitchell back into the form that saw him emerge as one of the best players in the world earlier this season.
He said Fittler could have put his arm around Mitchell and brought him into camp - even after his Game 1 struggles.
"He's been criticised for his performance, so there is that element where he would have come out pretty fired up for this game," Lockyer told Channel 9.
"As a coach he could have used that as motivation. You knew he was going to turn up because everyone's been talking about him.
"If you sat him down and had a heart to heart with him, while there's all this criticism around about him, he could have got the best out of him."