Andrew Johns floats Latrell Mitchell theory behind Rabbitohs star’s struggling form

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NRL legend Andrew Johns says Latrell Mitchell’s recent on-field issues are masking a dark truth.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback is currently serving a three-match suspension over a grade two dangerous contact charge after lifting his elbow and whacking Shaun Johnson in the head last Saturday.

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The Rabbitohs currently sit last on the NRL ladder with a 1-4 record as the club falls even further into turmoil.

Mitchell, 26, has been under an intense spotlight with his questionable antics this season coming under heavy fire.

The Rabbitohs star was called out following an expletive-laden post-game interview with Triple M, he also raised eyebrows after his hit on Josh Addo-Carr left the winger knocked out cold.

His troubling run of below-par form, mixed with his suspension has left Johns believing something bigger is going on with the star.

“Since probably the middle of last year … they were leading (the ladder) and Latrell was on fire,” Johns said on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth.

“But since then, for some reason, Latrell’s form has gone down and South Sydney’s has gone with it. Since then it looks like his mind is elsewhere.

“He looked angry on the weekend. (Is it) a cry for help?”

Fellow NRL icon Brad Fittler pointed to the Vegas scandal and said the Rabbitohs star should be distancing himself from social media.

Mitchell was the most vocal player to call out the NRL as he demanded Roosters prop Spencer Leniu be hit with a monster ban over racist remarks he made to Brisbane’s Ezra Mam.

“It started this year after Las Vegas,” Fittler said.

“They got beat over there (by Manly) and it really amplified from there. He’s been held out there as one of the Indigenous leaders and that takes a lot, I’m sure, of your energy.

“That’s what happens when you start delving into social media, playing a bit of your life out on the social platforms. It takes a lot of your life.

“He doesn’t have to touch his social media – people understand his position with the Indigenous fight, and the more and the better he plays football, the better his message is always going to be.”

Speculation surrounding the future of Mitchell has been thrust into the limelight during the Rabbitohs’ disastrous run with former NRL and rugby union star Mat Rogers saying he wouldn’t be shocked if Mitchell ultimately walked away for the rest of the season.

“I won’t be shocked if we don’t see him play again this year,” Rogers said on SEN.

“He will have three weeks off, his match fitness will go downhill and he will have to work hard to keep himself at a level where he can come back. I’m not sure if he’s prepared to do it.”

Rugby league heavyweight Phil Gould said an early retirement from the 26-year-old wouldn’t come as a surprise.

“Has anyone ever sat Latrell down and said do you really want to play this game?,” Gould said.

“Are you really in love with this game? Do you love the hard work? Do you love the discipline? Do you love your teammates? Do you love the club? … or is it just I’ll do it because I’m good at it but I’ll do it my own way.

“Has someone actually sat him down and said if you had a chance to walk away, would you go? I reckon he would. I reckon he will, I don’t see that he’s in love with it at all.”