Mitchell vows to be better after Macca's splurge
He will enjoy an end-of-season McDonald's banquet of a double quarter-pounder meal, six nuggets and a chicken and cheese burger but Roosters rookie Latrell Mitchell promises to come back in even better shape in 2017.
One of the absolute standouts in the rookie class of 2016, Mitchell completed his debut season in the NRL in the Roosters' 24-14 loss on Thursday night, a season in which the 19-year-old has played in every single game.
A knock to the hip pointer from Broncos monster Corey Oates forced him from the field midway through the first half but after receiving a needle to dull the pain was able to return and finish the game.
Learning to play through injury is one of many lessons the Taree product has had to learn in 2016 with the next task to prepare his body for a full season at fullback next year.
Admitting to NRL.com that he had been somewhat lax with his diet heading into pre-season last year, Mitchell said he would ensure he hits the ground running in November, but not before one well-earned indulgence.
"Maccas. I'll rip into it. A large double quarter pounder, six nuggets and a chicken and cheese," Mitchell said.
"I'll only have one. Last year I was sort of bad on it so coming in I felt it. I just want to be on board for the season coming in.
"It's more diet. I'm pretty slack on that. The fitness is a massive thing in the game now because the fullback role and the wing role, everything has gone up a level and you have to be on the ball with everything."
Although he completed the pre-season with the NRL squad, Mitchell had very low expectations of how much first grade he would play this season and said more than the physical toll, the ability to cope mentally for 80 minutes was his greatest challenge.
"I didn't expect to play too many, probably one or two coming in," said Mitchell, who finished the season with 14 tries and 12 goals for a personal tally of 80 points.
"I didn't think he (Roosters coach Trent Robinson) was going to rush me straight into it but he had that trust in me that he thought I could get right into it.
"I took the opportunity with both hands and now we're 24 games in and finished the season.
"I think it's more of a mindset, to stick in with the boys. Your head sort of goes everywhere when you're out there and you've got to stay together and be disciplined together and go forward from there."
Pointing out that Mitchell also played in the World Club Series in England in February, Robinson spoke highly of how the youngster has acquitted himself in his rookie season and outlined the work he has in store for him when preparations for 2017 begin.
"Latrell has had to learn how to play NRL but to play the volume of NRL is also difficult and to do that at his age is great experience," Robinson said.
"He'll do a lot of running. He's got the speed and we need to make sure we keep speed and get the physical body he needs but there are some guys there like Joey Manu and Latrell that need some volume as well."
After a difficult season, Roosters fans who have become used to success can think positively about the future with the prospect of an even more athletic Latrell Mitchell wearing the No.1 jersey in 2017 and beyond.