NRL saviour Peter V’landys has gone in to bat for Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell as a highly scrutinised six months looks set to climax in a blockbuster clash with his old club the Roosters on Friday night.
Mitchell endured a media storm through the off-season sparked by his highly publicised move to Redfern, a switch to fullback and vile racist attacks on social media.
The youngster also found himself under strong criticism when he was photographed alongside Storm star Josh Addo-Carr on a camping trip, flouting social distancing measures during lockdown.
With the game resuming this weekend, Mitchell’s roller coaster six-months will seemingly reach D-Day when he clashes against his old club the Roosters on Friday night.
While many may use the result to lay judgment on Mitchell’s off-field moves, V’landys had nothing but adoration for the way the talent has held himself under huge amounts of pressure, as he spoke on a meeting he had with the youngster over the summer.
“I feel sympathy for Latrell Mitchell,” V’landys told Nine’s Danny Weidler. “He’s a 22 year-old kid, you’ve got to remember that, and he’s pulled in every direction.
“When you’re successful, people want to have a piece of you. Latrell is very successful and he’s a very good footballer, and unfortunately that comes with the territory.
“He’s shown his character in my eyes already by not being pulled apart by all these people. It’s tough, only he knows how tough it’s been.
Latrell primed to silence doubters
“I could tell when I met him, that it was tough on him. It was hard. If I was a 22-year-old and had to go through all that pressure, I wouldn’t handle it. I think he’s handled it better than most.”
Asked whether the league’s gaze would mainly fixed on Mitchell amid it’s resumption, V’landys said: “I hope so, he’s a star player.
“Let him play the game that he loves and show them up.”
The Rabbitohs kick off against the Roosters on Friday night at 7:55pm from Bankwest Stadium.
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