He hasn't played rugby league for 12 weeks, but Latrell Mitchell is just one solid 80-minute performance away from Origin selection, and he's got his teammates in his corner.
Had it not been for some career-best form from Tom Trbojevic, it would've been Latrell Mitchell with the Wally Lewis medal draped around his neck last year, the South Sydney star's form so strong, that it's leaving it near impossible to leave him out of the side.
Brad Fittler has a tough decision on his hands, narrowing down a list of Mitchell, Matt Burton, Stephen Crichton and Jack Wighton into just two centre positions. The easy choice is obviously to leave Game 2 centres Burton and Crichton, but can you justify leaving Mitchell out of the side?
“I feel like he can just kick us along a little bit more and obviously a lot in our attack and defence as well so but in terms of having him in the squad, a player of his calibre and the player he is obviously going to be great to have around camp if he is in there” Cook told Fox League.
Mitchell has been named at fullback for the Bunnies vital clash against Parramatta, and will have just that 80 minutes under his belt if he is selected in the Blues squad.
Outside of the usual suspects in Nathan Cleary and James Tedesco, Matt Burton was the next best for New South Wales playing at left centre, which is where Latrell would line-up, with neither having featured on the right before.
Origin aside, Cook knows how bad his fullback simply wants to be on the footy field.
“It’s been tough for him but he’s got the hard work done that he needs to get done and he’s ready to go, he’s bouncing around at training, he just wants to get on there."
Latrell will play his first game since Round 5 on Saturday night, just a mere 24 hours before Fittler will announce his squad. While there's no guarantee that Mitchell will be selected, it is almost guaranteed that he'll do everything in his power to make sure that he is.