Redfern has been hit with fresh controversy following Cody Walker’s ‘blackmail video’ now viral – clearly showing the former Blues five-eighth karate kicking a man in the street.
Walker brought himself into the Police Station over the weekend to report an individual blackmailing him, reportedly asking for $20,000 or the video gets released.
It’s unsure where this footage leaves Walker’s playing status, with the Integrity Unit almost certain to investigate the incident. Nathan Cleary and Tyrone May both received fines alongside their two match-bans for breaking social distancing conduct, and lying when asked about the incident.
It leaves halfback Dean Hawkins and five-eighth Troy Dargan as the only other halves in the Rabbitohs’ Top 30, with youngsters Blake Taaffe and Lachlan Illias impressing in the Nines and trials, though deemed too raw for first-grade.
However, there does remain a left-field option – Latrell Mitchell.
Mitchell started four games last year at five-eighth for the Roosters, and it could be the perfect move for the centre-turned-fullback, by introducing him to playmaking duties without the fitness required at fullback.
Johnston is already set to start in Round 3 with James Roberts taking time away from the game to deal with his mental health, with Campbell Graham shifting from left wing to right centre, and Johnston joining the starting side.
Mitchell has shown glimpses in his first two outings at fullback though he has been disappointing overall, with a lack of fitness the key indicator.
How he emerges from iso will be anyone’s guess, though the same could be said about any NRL player right now.
A shift to the halves for Mitchell would set off alarms for the Chooks, with Latrell directly opposing young gun Kyle Flanagan.
Even with Mitchell in the halves and Johnston at fullback, a suspension to Walker would be catastrophic for South Sydney, with the enigmatic half scoring 16 tries in 25 games last season, his best year in the NRL to date.
It’ll be a blockbusting match next Friday regardless, with the NRL’s oldest rivalry resuming between South Sydney and the Roosters, with Latrell’s move a new chapter in the book of feuds.
Whether it be at fullback, centre or five-eighth, Mitchell is sure to be fired up running out against his former club, with the side to be revealed next week when Team List Tuesday returns.