Latrell Mitchell’s on-going feud with club teammate Dane Gagai during State of Origin Game Three was a feature of the match but the NSW star has reassured Souths fans he and Gagai are still “brothers”.
Mitchell and Gagai, who play for Souths and will be spending more time with each other with the league moving to Queensland, were baiting each other all night with both players treating each other like they had been rivals for years.
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From the outside looking in – South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett may need to intervene before both players join Rabbitohs camp just to make sure the air has been cleared as they unite for a charge at an NRL title. When asked about their spiteful clashes during the game, Mitchell dismissed any ill will towards his Souths teammate.
“I love ‘Gags’, [but] I don’t show no respect on the field, that is how I play,” Mitchell told Nine. “After it, we show we’re brothers again. He is my teammate back in club land, I love him. In this arena, we’re not mates.”
Queensland avoided a series embarrassment with a tight 20-18 win on the Gold Coast but things could have gone the other way if Mitchell converted a monster 51-metre penalty goal inside the final two minutes, which would have levelled the game.
Mitchell said the he approaches State of Origin with the utmost respect and if that means playing tough against a club teammate then so be it.
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“[It’s been a] long road to get here,” Mitchell said. “Had some ups and downs, but I love putting this jersey on. I put it on with pride. Every time I play, I enjoy it.
“Now I know what it takes to be a Blue and you know yourself, putting that jersey on, it means everything in the world. As a kid growing up, I wanted to play Origin and I got to do it three times this year in Queensland.”
Mitchell proved he’s arguably the best player in the game, seemingly outdoing his past performance in each game. He crossed the line for the Blues last night in a sequence that left Gagai and Kalyn Ponga clutching at thin air, prompting Andrew Johns to say the 24-year-old was making the best players in the game “look silly”.
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