Latrell Mitchell is recognised as a powerful ball runner, possessing both size and speed.

However, he frequently finds himself entangled in media discussion, often leaving lingering uncertainties in his NRL career.

Since joining the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Mitchell has had the power to play as a fullback, but his performance in this role has been inconsistent, marked by both highs and lows in his career.

A dominating player who is admired by many, and within his team at Souths, Mitchell is regarded as a leader of the club.

Continual conversations about his performances and attitude often force him into the media spotlight, sparking ongoing conversations about how he can regain momentum and demonstrate his true capabilities, surpassing the narrative spun by the media.

His 2024 season has been turbulent thus far, marked by a rocky start. In round three, he faced criticism for an underwhelming performance against his ex-club, the Sydney Roosters, where he was caught out of position at the back.

NRL Rd 16 - Eels v Rabbitohs
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs looks on during the round 16 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on August 27, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

An unfortunate incident followed this in Round 4, where he was involved in a collision that resulted in his fellow Origin teammate, Josh Addo-Carr, being knocked out.

The conversations escalated further in the fifth round when Mitchell's careless actions resulted in him elbowing Shaun Johnson in the face, leading to a three-game suspension.

This controversy-filled start to the season has raised many doubts about Mitchell's level of commitment to the Rabbitohs and his NRL career.

So, how can Latrell Mitchell turn these tables around?

It seems that Mitchell has finally understood the importance of focusing and prioritising his NRL career above all else.

Despite his suspensions, he has been persistently attending every Souths training session. With a four-week sideline period due to a bye round, this has provided an opportunity for young fullback Jye Gray, who made his NRL debut in Round 6 against the Cronulla Sharks.

Following his impressive debut performance, Gray now has a prime opportunity to secure the fullback jersey for himself. This raises questions about Mitchell's position in the team and the possibility of him returning to his original position in the centres.

While Mitchell enjoys controlling his dominance and directing the game to suit his playing style, he must acknowledge the emergence of talented young players like Gray. It's important for him to prioritise what's best for the team, particularly considering their current position at the bottom of the table.

“It's Jye's spot at the moment, and if he keeps playing well, he's every chance to keep it,” coach Jason Demetriou told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“He's obviously got speed, and he's a real threat who can make a lot of metres for a little bloke”.

Upon Latrell's return in Round 10, Demetriou must carefully decide on his position in the team and ensure that he prioritises his playing abilities. It's essential for him now to maintain focus and be cautious in order to become a better player for his team both on and off the field.

This is especially crucial given his tendency to become carried away, as evidenced by his controversial and explicit interview after the Broncos game in Round Two.

With a shift in attitude as he prepares to return to the NRL, Mitchell may find himself on the path to positive developments, including the possibility of being selected for the NSW State of Origin team.

"At the moment, one thing I know is that in big games, you need your focus right about where you are going. Souths are going through a tough period, but Latrell has a chance to bunker down and really help the NSW team,” Michael Maguire told Nine Media.

"Everyone knows the capabilities of Latrell, but it's about making sure he is in the right headspace.”

"We need all our guys to be playing at their best, including Latrell.”

The chance remains open for him to secure a spot in the Blues State of Origin team. However, the decision now rests with Latrell to demonstrate his talent and showcase his capabilities to not only the public but to impress NSW coach Maguire.