Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has added fuel to the Latrell Mitchell fire ahead of Friday’s blockbuster against his former centre turned South Sydney fullback, declaring: “We care about Latrell, but he is no longer in our colours and that aims up for a rivalry.”
Only days after Mitchell admitted that Roosters winger Daniel Tupou was one of the few former teammates that he kept in contact with, Robinson also distanced himself from his ex-Tricolours centre.
The Roosters coach was asked about his thoughts on Mitchell’s form at fullback this season.
Robinson answered the question but made it clear that while Latrell would be forever respected at Bondi for his premiership feats, he was now a Bunny.
“He is a legend of our club and now he is at Souths and playing in their role, so you’ll have to ask him,” Robinson said.
“He played fullback here and he has done a lot here.
“We care about him here for what he has done and who he is, but he is no longer in these colours, so that aims up for a rivalry on Friday night.”
Robinson placed the pressure on Mitchell to come out firing against his former club when asked if he expected a strong performance from his former Roosters star.
“Yeah, that is up to them,” he said.
“Every player wants to lift against their old club. I think that is natural, that is human to want that.
“I know how Latrell will want to play as well.”
Robinson insists the Roosters’ record 60-8 loss to Souths in the final round last season hasn’t been discussed and won’t be in the lead-up to Friday night.
However, he admitted the heavy defeat would still serve as motivation to beat the Rabbitohs.
“That won’t be brought up, but you don’t forget,” he said.
“You never forget, and you want to attack them with that neighbour versus neighbour attitude.
“You want to play your best footy, no matter the opponent, and that is no different on Friday night.
“We want to go out and improve what we are doing and do it with an intensity.”
Meanwhile, Robinson is thrilled to have lock Victor Radley available following his two-game ban and recovery from last season’s ACL injury.
“He is excited – we have missed him, and it is good to have him back,” he said.
“He brings a love for the game and a style of the game that we like.
“A bit of that will be coming off the bench. We will let him off the leash but not completely yet.
“He has been training hard for a long time and doing as much if not more than anyone else.
“He has been ready for a bit to play, but the suspension was there and now he is ready to go.
“It is about allowing him to play the football he wants to play but also making sure that is less than 80 minutes.”