New South Wales Blues coach Brad Fittler says a Queensland great holds the key to Latrell Mitchell returning to the Holden State of Origin arena in 2020.
Mitchell played the opening match of last year’s series before being overlooked for games two and three.
This season poses new challenges for the former Rooster. The 22-year-old isn’t only changing clubs this season, but positions too. The Rabbitohs recruit is expected to switch from centre to fullback this year.
“Wayne Bennett’s a pretty good coach so he’ll have assistance from one of the great Queenslanders,” Fittler said at the 2020 Origin launch in Adelaide.
“I can expect Wayne to most probably dig pretty deep with some great coaching to get Latrell into a position to be happy again, and if he does that we’ll all be happy.
“[Bennett is] such a wise coach and I’m sure he’ll give Latrell the time to get fit.”
It’s Mitchell’s fitness which poses the biggest concern for Fittler ahead of his return to fullback, having played 16 games in the No.1 jersey in his debut season in 2016.
“That’ll be interesting [to see] how he goes [at fullback],” Fittler said.
“A lot has got to happen for Latrell. His fitness is going to play a big part. It’s a very different position to the one he plays at the Roosters.
“He’s going to cover more than twice as much distance as he was playing centre so he’s going to have to work hard.”
Daley looking forward to Latrell playing fullback
Mitchell was one of three incumbent NSW players who didn’t attend a Blues camp last weekend. James Maloney (Super League) and Payne Haas (family reasons) were the only two other payers who didn’t attend the camp.
Despite Mitchell not attending the camp, Fittler says their relationship is “all good”.
“It was great to see him up at Taree before Christmas,” Fittler said.
“He’d been up there himself fighting fires and looking after the community.
“You just want him being in love with the game I think. When he’s in love with the game he’s outstanding, he’s hard to stop whether he’s playing fullback, five-eighth or centre.”
Tickets for the 2020 Holden State of Origin series are available via nrl.com/tickets