‘‘He needs to get his own backyard right before he does anything else. He needs to ask himself if he wants to be remembered as a player who was great every few weeks and who got his money. Or if he wants to be the player who is great every week.”
Thurston and Greg Inglis were the best Indigenous players of their generation. While Inglis has close contact with Mitchell, Thurston has suggested an icon of another sport as the man to guide him.
“[Souths coach] Wayne Bennett is a great person to have by his side but I think he needs to reach out to Adam Goodes,” Thurston said. “I’m not saying Latrell is league’s Adam Goodes but Adam went through some horrible things throughout his career … I think he would be a good person to bounce things off.
‘‘He really needs some very good people around him. Maybe he should talk to Dean Widders. He was racially abused on the field and had to go through a lot.
‘‘Look, Latrell has taken a lot on. Some of the criticism of him is fair … the camping trip stuff, you can’t carry on with that. But then the training stuff where he looked tired – that may be harsh.
‘‘But having said that, he could have prevented that. If it was me in that break I would have spent the weeks the game was off to come back and make a statement to Wayne to say I was ready to be the team’s No.1. I would have wanted to show the boys through my preparation that I was the one that they could follow. That they would see me and see the dedication I had.
‘‘I had that competitive side and I never wanted to lose. That’s what drove me through my career and if Latrell is going to succeed from now on he needs to discover what is going to drive him. ‘‘When that’s clear, it’s easier to move into the next phase of your career.”