Mitchell has been impossible to miss in the headlines with Wests Tigers ace Benji Marshall the latest to show him public support, and was grateful coach Wayne Bennett was in his corner.
Brett Morris was backing Josh to handle Mitchell and had enjoyed showing his brother ‘the Roosters’ Way’, which included short, sharp training sessions – something he had not been used to prior to his Bondi arrival on the eve of the competition shutdown.
“Josh is one of those guys who has always prided himself on his defence his whole career, he enjoys playing those big guys and big-game players,” Morris said.
“It doesn’t matter who you put in front of him, he goes out to do his job. He’s very professional how he goes about that.
“There were plenty of tough sessions [together in isolation]. I showed him the Roosters’ Way … the way we train is intense, it’s high quality, and that’s what we pride ourselves on. We go to places on the training paddock you don’t like to go to.
“For him it’s been a while since he’s done that certain training. There were times there he was down on his haunches, but he really enjoyed it, and has come through the other side in pretty good nick.”
Morris was in the final year of a deal at Cronulla before he secured one last NRL hurrah to play with Brett at the premiers.
Meanwhile, Marshall defended Mitchell a day after Souths teammate Adam Reynolds and coach Wayne Bennett spoke about the over-the-top public and media pressure placed on the 22-year-old.
It was more than a decade ago Marshall publicly declared the media pressure virtually forced Sonny Bill Williams out of rugby league the first time.
“Latrell is a big-name player who gets more attention than others, I feel he gets a lot of attention lately – and a lot of it has been negative – but he just needs to surround himself with good people to get through it,” Marshall said.
“I feel he has one of the best there in Wayne to help him get through it. These things can take a toll on mental health … sometimes we have to be careful with how far we push them with their mental health. I can see one day the pressure of what we do in general can push people to the edge.”
Marshall praised the NRL for their response to mental health and how they had made sure players entered daily logs about their feelings.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.