Rabbitohs gun Latrell Mitchell’s ability to show up in crunch periods has been placed under the microscope after Broncos great Corey Parker questioned his fitness.
Mitchell has made no secret of his desire to stand up in the biggest games, labelling himself the “entertainer”. But the superstar fullback was unable to deliver as the Panthers stormed from behind to win 32-12 and book a spot in the grand final.
Parker pinpointed a crucial period in the match, with Souths trailing 18-12, where their marquee players went missing.
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“Particularly at one stage in that second half, some of their big stars were not seen with the ball,” Parker said.
“There was a period in that second half when Latrell Mitchell did not touch the ball, was not seen, did not touch the ball for three sets of six.
“You are playing in a preliminary final, you need your big stars touching the ball, there is not next week, it is a grand final if you wan’t to go and take it.”
Fox League’s Gorden Tallis questioned how Mitchell’s fitness could be an issue after playing one less game than Cleary who spent an extended period sidelined due to suspension.
“I think Cleary has played one less game than Latrell so it can’t be fitness, I think he came back from America, we all sung his praises on how fit he looked,” Tallis said.
“He looked happy, he looked settled, all those things that we saw in Latrell’s early performances.”
“He got jammed early by Leota, he was slow to get up and didn’t really get back into the game,” Fox League’s Braith Anasta said.
“It was 18-12, three complete sets of six, he did not touch the ball, and they bobbled away and didn’t come up with the right option,” Parker said.
“For mine, it is fitness, Latrell was pulled apart to the point where he couldn’t be able to put effort on effort.
“He wasn’t able to put himself, where he needed to put himself, if he was fit enough, he would be there.”
Fox League’s Cooper Cronk echoed Parker’s comments, explaining the Rabbitohs’ big-name spine failed to stamp their mark on the contest.
Meanwhile, Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo, Apisai Koroisau, Dylan Edwards and Jarome Luai all stood up when called upon.
“In big games like this, the reason why you are an elite player and a senior player is because you can influence outcomes,” Cronk said.
“I thought the South Sydney players didn’t stand up and deliver for their team, and I thought the Penrith players did.”
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