Even if he doesn’t take the field against Brisbane in Saturday’s top-of-the-table NRL clash, the match will represent another step on the path to NRL stardom for Sydney Roosters young gun Latrell Mitchell.
Rated one of rugby league’s hottest up-and-coming talents, Mitchell was named in the Roosters’ NRL side for the first time for the round 24 clash.
The 18-year-old former Australian Schoolboy and NSW Under-20s representative is on an extended bench for the foundation club against Brisbane and will only take the field in the event of a pre-game injury to a backline player.
But Roosters coach Trent Robinson said the inclusion of Mitchell in the Roosters’ squad for their biggest game of the NRL season so far is key to his development.
“It is about taking that next step towards understanding what it takes to play NRL,” Robinson said.
“He has been playing very good football in the Under-20s. He is not very far away from playing NRL and this is an experience for him.
“If something happens on the night as an 18th man you have to be ready for that. You don’t take that role lightly but it is about experiencing the build up, the big game, the warm up, the meetings, the game day experience. That is an important one for him and will help him hopefully when he does make his debut.”
Mitchell has been compared to a young Greg Inglis, but Robinson said he will stay grounded thanks to the players around him.
“There are players here who have had to deal with that before, so he can learn off the players around him,” Robinson said.
“He is a good player and he is going to come on in our game. But team comes first and he has to understand that he has to work for the players around him and his time will come.”