Roosters to rally around hooked Mitchell
Senior Roosters players will this week rally around teen sensation Latrell Mitchell after the 19-year-old was hooked by coach Trent Robinson 10 minutes from full-time in their 32-8 loss to the Broncos on Thursday night.
Mitchell cut a dejected figure as he walked from the Suncorp Stadium surface in the 70th minute with his team trailing by 12 points, sitting on the interchange bench helpless as his team conceded two late tries to go down by 24 points.
In his rookie year last season Mitchell only failed to finish a game four times in 24 matches all due to injury, his first grade education instituting a tough lesson as he failed to assert his influence on the contest on Thursday night.
With a solitary tackle break and 71 running metres Mitchell was unusually ineffective in attack and with three errors, two missed tackles and a penalty against him Robinson decided to substitute him with hooker Jake Friend with 10 minutes left to play.
The reason Robinson gave in the post-game press conference for Mitchell's early exit was that "I thought he just needed a rest" and he now has seven days to pick himself up and get ready for a Good Friday clash against the Knights.
Having shifted to the centres this year Mitchell began the season in a blaze of glory with a hat-trick against the Titans in Round 1 and veteran Mitch Aubusson has no doubt that there will be a positive response in the weeks to come.
"He's a young kid coming into first grade and everybody goes through those sort of times," Aubusson told NRL.com.
"We'll get around him this week and he'll learn a lot from tonight's game.
"It's not uncommon in our game for that sort of thing to happen and he's too good of a footy player not to play well so he'll bounce back for sure."
Playing in his 220th game for the club – seventh on the Roosters' all-time list of games played – Aubusson and his teammates must now face the harsh reality of a video review that will highlight their 47 missed tackles, among other areas in which they were poor.
There was an un-Rooster-like looseness about their play from the opening set of the game in Brisbane and Aubusson knows it must be addressed before they can move on to their assignment against Newcastle.
"[Robinson] was disappointed. He wasn't tearing paint off the walls but it was an honest chat about where we're at and what we need to do to get better," Aubusson said.
"The video never lies so we'll sit down and do the video and work out where we went wrong and fix those things.
"Everyone has got to take a hard look at themselves. It's not dire straits by any means. We missed out on one tonight but we need to lick our wounds and get ready to go again.
"It comes down to the individual and how they prepare. A few of us were off tonight and it's just not good enough in this league.
"If you have a few guys off that's what happens."