Indigenous All-Stars v New Zealand Maori All-Stars
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 22: Latrell Mitchell of the Indigenous All-Stars performs an Indigenous dance during the NRL match between the Indigenous All-Stars and the New Zealand Maori Kiwis All-Stars at Cbus Super Stadium on February 22, 2020 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

It's amazing what a year can do to a rugby league career.

This time last year, Latrell Mitchell was still dealing with backlash from THAT tackle on Joseph Manu, while his brother Shaq was trying to win a contract after weighing as much as 179kgs.

Now, Latrell has returned from England as a World Cup champion, while Shaquai has now made his NRL debut, and is pushing for a spot in the club's best 17.

'Trell' only returned to full field sessions on Tuesday this week, hitting the ground running two months after lifting the trophy at Old Trafford alongside his fellow Kangaroos.

Australia v Italy: Rugby League World Cup
ST HELENS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Latrell Mitchell of Australia goes over to score their sides fifth try during Rugby League World Cup 2021 Pool B match between Australia and Italy at Totally Wicked Stadium on October 29, 2022 in St Helens, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Just a fortnight away from the annual All-Stars clash, Jason Demetriou is excited to see what Latrell can produce after a strong showing at training.

“Latrell's maturity over the last 12 months has been there to see, and it's been evident with how he's returned - he's come back in the best shape he's been in,” Souths coach Jason Demetriou told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"He'll be close to match fitness by the time they go away. It's an important week, he's a leader in the Indigenous community, he's very well respected and looked up to, and it will be great to see him running around.

“Like all teams at this time of year, we have work to do with our execution and connection, but Latrell's energy has been outstanding.”

He isn't the only bloke with the surname Mitchell to catch eyes this off-season, though.

NRL Rd 3 - Rabbitohs v Roosters
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs celebrates with Alex Johnston of the Rabbitohs after scoring a try during the round three NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters at Accor Stadium, on March 25, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Older brother Shaq created massive headlines, literally, last season when detailing his career-saving weight loss before making his All-Stars debut, and it's a different Shaquai we'll be seeing again this season.

“I arrived here for pre-season training at the start of last season about 125kg, dropped to 118kg, then added some muscle and played just over 120kg,” Shaq said.

“Now I'm down to about 116kg, which is the lightest I've been in a long time.

“The goal is to play more. I don't like taking free hands out, I work hard for my success, and that's how I want to keep it. There's so much talent in this squad, we're all competing for spots, that's the name of the game, and all I can do is keep pushing.”

Stunningly down 63kgs from his heaviest weight, Mitchell is competing against the likes of Liam Knight (when fit), Davvy Moale and Daniel Suluka-Fifita to replace Mark Nicholls in the front-row.

Both brothers are expected to be named in the Indigenous All-Stars' 20-man squad alongside captain and assistant coach Cody Walker.