The mother of axed Origin star Latrell Mitchell has revealed the young player was grieving the loss of four family members during his underwhelming game one performance.
Mitchell’s mother, Patricia Goolagong, said the player – who has been dumped by the blues ahead of game two in Perth – was coping with the deaths of two aunties, a great uncle, and a cousin.
‘Latrell has been dealing with this the best that he can,’ Ms Goolagong told Nine News in a statement.
‘But this will affect any young person as you could imagine.’
Latrell Mitchell’s mother, Patricia Goolagong, said the young Origin player (pictured) was grieving the loss of four family members during his underwhelming Game 1 performance
Mitchell (pictured during game one) has been axed from the Blues squad ahead of game two in Perth on Sunday
The Sydney Roosters centre was also struggling with his brother Lionel having to face court in August for an incident in the Old Bar Tavern in April.
According to Ms Goolagong, the incident took place after the brothers were ‘racially abused all night.’
‘This has really affected Latrell,’ she said.
‘He has never had to deal with anything like this.’
Meanwhile, the Blues have arrived in Perth to begin preparations for the must-win clash on Sunday armed with a new-look side with seven changes from game one.
Commenting on the changes, NSW captain Boyd Cordner said: ‘It’s obviously a bit surprising but as soon as I seen the team, you can see it’s a very strong squad.’
Latrell Mitchell (pictured) was also struggling with his brother, Lionel, having to face court in August after an incident in April, in which their mother says the two brothers were racially abused
‘(It) obviously gives you confidence straight away that we can come over here and be able to get the job done.’
Mitchell was easily the most notable omission, and was at the forefront of Cordner’s mind when the team touched down.
The Roosters skipper briefly spoke with club teammates Mitchell and Angus Crichton before leaving Sydney, but will do so again through the week.
‘It’s more disappointing for them. Obviously being teammates, it’s hard to see them go through that,’ Cordner said.
‘It’s obviously hard to take so I didn’t want to crowd them too much.’
Mitchell (pictured during game one) was the most notable omission from the Blues side ahead of game two in Perth on Sunday
‘They’ve got to have time to process it all. But I just said to know I’m thinking of them and I’ll probably speak to them throughout the week.’
Cordner backed the Kangaroos incumbent to use his disappointment as motivational fuel.
‘I think it’ll fire him up. Knowing Latrell, anything like this, or if it’s a challenge or anything like that, he always stands up. He’ll use this as motivation for sure.’
Recalled five-eighth James Maloney sympathised for Mitchell, who leads the NRL in points and is third in tries.
‘It’s a harsh environment, State of Origin. Decisions are made on one-off performances,’ Maloney said.
NSW Blues captain, Boyd Cordner (pictured), believes Latrell Mitchell will use the axing as motivational fuel
‘At the end of the day, we’ve got a really good coach and selection panel and they know what’s going on. They know what’s best. We’ll back the guys that are there.’
Cordner also insisted he would be available to complete the entire week’s training despite suggestions he has been battling an ankle injury.
Some questioned the Roosters’ decision to play Cordner for both club games between the Origin contests in what is a gruelling period.
The Blues have just three on-field sessions due to the shortened build-up.
‘I pushed to play against Penrith and then given the circumstances, I didn’t really want to rest. We needed to fix some things there,’ Cordner said.
‘We had (Jake Friend) out, (Luke) Keary, Jared (Waerea-Hargreaves), so I thought, I wanted to play and turn that around there as quick as we could.’
Late on Monday, the Blues announced Clint Gutherson and Ryan Matterson had been called in as emergency players.
Latrell Mitchell (pictured with girlfriend Brielle) was grieving the loss of four family members during his game one performance