Andrew Johns praises ‘selfless’ Latrell Mitchell for ruling himself out of State of Origin decider

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‘It’s great stuff’: Andrew Johns praises ‘selfless’ Latrell Mitchell for ruling himself out of State of Origin decider after returning from injury

Andrew Johns has praised Latrell Mitchell’s ‘selfless’ decision to rule himself out of the State of Origin decider.

New South Wales head to Brisbane on July 13 with the interstate series balanced at 1-1 after the Blues thrashed the Maroons 44-12 at Optus Stadium last week.

Mitchell, however, pulled himself out of contention to play at Suncorp Stadium in 10 days time to focus on Souths, a decision backed by Johns.

Latrell Mitchell has shut down speculation surrounding a return for the Origin decider

‘Selfless, it’s great stuff from Latrell,’ Johns said on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.

‘You could see he’s supporting the Blues, supporting [Matt] Burton and [Stephen] Crichton. I think it’s a really selfless decision and it was really mature of him.

‘There would have been a lot of pressure today on not only Brad Fittler, but people within the team, about Latrell, whether he was going to be picked or not.’

Andrew Johns has backed Mitchell's 'selfless' decision to rule himself out of Origin III

Andrew Johns has backed Mitchell’s ‘selfless’ decision to rule himself out of Origin III

The South Sydney star made his return against Parramatta on Saturday after being sidelined with a hamstring injury since Round 5. Mitchell recovered from the hamstring problem only to catch Covid-19, leaving him unavailable for selection for the first two Origin games.

Speculation New South Wales coach Brad Fittler could name the star fullback in his team for Origin III on Monday surrounded his long-awaited return against the Eels on Saturday, but Mitchell swiftly shot the rumours down.

‘I am going to pull myself out, I am going to worry about Souths, focus on myself,’ he said on Fox League after the Rabbitohs beat the Eels 30-12 to cement a place in the top eight.

The 25-year-old made his return from injury to help the Rabbitohs beat Parra on Saturday

The 25-year-old made his return from injury to help the Rabbitohs beat Parra on Saturday

However, he insisted that his focus is on club footy and 'himself' instead of Origin selection

However, he insisted that his focus is on club footy and ‘himself’ instead of Origin selection

‘They have a really good team there New South Wales. Good luck to [Matt] Burton in the centres and give [Stephen] Crichton a go, let him bleed in and I just really want to focus on South Sydney and myself and get myself right for the back-end of the season.’ 

Souths coach Jason Demetriou also praised Mitchell’s decision to pass up the opportunity to play for New South Wales, as the Blues aim to win a series decider in Brisbane for the first time since 2005.

‘It shows a fair commitment from him to his teammates and to his club that he wants to perform here,’ he said.

‘It shows a bit of respect to the Blues as well; after a great performance [in Game 2] he’s confident that those guys can get the job done. He’s in better shape than he was in Round 2 when he came back [from suspension].’

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