Roosters and Blues star Latrell Mitchell has hit back at critics labelling recent characterizations made about him as “harsh”.
Mitchell has copped a hammering after a less than impressive showing in State of Origin I, with his sin-binning playing an integral role in Queensland’s 18-14 victory.
The star returned to his hometown of Taree in the aftermath of the defeat as Blues coach Brad Fittler urged the Roosters centre to “find his motivation”.
Mitchell was also criticised by Nine’s Phil Gould, who claimed the Roosters star’s contract issues and uncertainty around his management as a distraction.
The Blues star hit back at those taking pot shots, telling NITV’s Over The Black Dot:
“I’m not going to sit here and put a high rating on myself I make mistakes, it’s a game of rugby league, everybody does.
“I guess it’s been a bit harsh lately, I’ve seen what people have been saying and I guess you can’t sort of individualise someone for a game of rugby league when it’s a team sport.
“I’m here to take one for the team, it doesn’t bother me.
“I want to win and I want to do that for my state, a bit of support would be nice for our state. It’s just one game we’re down, it’s not the end of the world.
“We lost one game, but we’ll be hungry to go again.”
Mitchell and under-fire five-eighth Cody Walker copped plenty of heat for their attack and defence down the left edge for the Blues.
Walker was taken off the field early in the second half with speculation Fittler could turn to last year’s hero James Maloney to try and steer the series the Blues’ way.
NSW will pick their squad this weekend but Mitchell urged Fittler to stick with Walker for game 2.
“A lot of things didn’t go our way,” Mitchell added.
“I obviously want more ball and I know Cody and what he can do and just for him it’s feeling his way into that rep stature.
“I guess from myself — I feel for him because I know how it is coming in last year and tyring to fit in. I guess, for him, he just needs to get the ball and play his game.
“I really hope that Fittler sticks solid with the team. There’s something special there, you can feel it and it’s just getting that combination going.
“Getting Cody into his natural game and not worrying about the atmosphere and what’s going on in the exterior. I just hope Fittler sticks with him.”