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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
A sell-out crowd is assured for the 2019 State of Origin third deciding game.
Sydney Roosters centre, Latrell Mitchell is being backed to recover from being dropped after game one of this year's State of Origin series. Rumours have continued to persist that Mitchell and the New South Wales Blues' coaching staff fell out in recent weeks, leading to his culling from the team roster for game two. However, if reports are to be believed, Mitchell could be in line for a recall in the deciding third rubber.
That's due to an unfortunate ankle injury to Nathan Cleary, who looks almost certain to miss the decider in Sydney on July 10. Although scans have confirmed he has not sustained syndesmosis damage, they also revealed a high-grade lateral injury. Cleary's absence would leave a gaping hole to be filled in the halves, with James Maloney a likely candidate to slot in as halfback, leaving a space at number six. Either Jack Wighton or Wade Graham could plug that gap also, leaving Mitchell to come in at left centre.
Trent Robinson comes to the defence of Mitchell
Mitchell's club coach of the Roosters, Trent Robinson, believes the 22-year-old must see these trials and tribulations as "a positive for his career" rather than a negative. For someone so young to receive such a knockback - so soon after being told he's an NRL superstar - must be hard to take. Robinson has urged Mitchell to channel that disappointment into his club performances for Sydney and play himself back into contention for the State of Origin decider.
The stage is set for Mitchell in Game Three
Oddschecker's latest State of Origin figures suggest that the Blues are now odds-on favorites with the bookies and fans alike to break their State of Origin duck. Greg Alexander, adviser of the Blues, has dropped the biggest hint yet that Mitchell could still have a huge part to play in the outcome of this series. Alexander said that the Blues' hierarchy "know what Latrell can do" and that there's "not many" with the raw talent and attributes that Mitchell possesses in the Blues' roster. He also hoped that Mitchell had taken the disappointment of game two in the right manner, allowing him to have the "bit between his teeth" to make a difference come July 10.
It seems a shame that while all players in the State of Origin series should be open to criticism that the nation's up-and-coming stars are singled out to be brought down a peg or two. Whether Mitchell's deserved the level of criticism and scrutiny he's got is well and truly up for debate. However, the best way for the Roosters' starlet to silence his critics would be to help the Blues make State of Origin history.