New Rooster Anthony Mitchell admits to being star struck every day in his unfolding NRL career – with his rapid rise gaining further momentum following selection in the Indigenous All Stars team for a second consecutive year.
The former Eel, drafted by the tri-colours midway through last season to serve as back-up to starting hooker Jake Friend, said he was thrilled to be congratulated by Roosters coach Brian Smith as he prepared for the looming Indigenous team camp.
“The head coach gave us a handshake today and said congratulations, so that’s more than enough to say that he was happy,” an over-the-moon Mitchell told NRL.com.
“It’s always exciting to be in a rep game and it’s always exciting to be around NRL players – for a bloke that really loves NRL.
“I feel star struck every day, going to training, but more in particular today [among the All Stars] with some of the talent running around the room – it’s pretty exciting.”
Mitchell said there was no better way to start the new NRL season than a showcase game “against the best of the best”.
“It’s awesome; it’s a massive honour for me and a massive honour for my family,” he said. “I’m really excited to be a part of it again.
“I have a lot of family from the south-east, so a fair few of them will be just down the road, but yeah there will be a few coming down from Townsville.”
Mitchell described the week leading up to the All Stars clash as “truly rewarding”.
“Probably going to WhiteWater World would be my favourite – it’s always good fun to run around with the kids,” he said.
“But the whole weeks usually pretty good: staying at Broadbeach… taking care of a lot of the boys and girls who are selected from other communities to come meet us and hang out.”
The utility, who will provide back-up to starting hooker Travis Waddell, said the new rules for this year’s All Stars game – including the two-man Power Plays and the 20/40 kicking options – were a “weird” but exciting concept.
“It’ll be strange but why not try it out and see how it goes?” he said. “It’ll be exciting to begin with, what with some of the players running around.
“So yeah, Power Play – bring it on!”