TAREE’S Latrell Mitchell is on the verge of a stunning call-up to the State if Origin rugby league arena, with NSW coach Laurie Daley contemplating picking the teenager on the wing for game one.
A week after making his return from the NRL wilderness, the 19-year-old Sydney Roosters centre has burst into Origin calculations following the unfortunate injury that will see Tom Trbojevic miss up to eight weeks with knee and ankle injuries.
Fairfax Media has been told Daley, who has a huge opinion of the talented Mitchell, is now considering picking him on the left wing – likely to play outside Jarryd Hayne at left centre – and has the backing of Blues legend Brad Fittler.
If selected on the wing for NSW, it will be a remarkable turnaround considering Mitchell was last month dumped to NSW Cup by Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who in round four also declared his young prodigy wasn't ready for representative football despite boasting enormous talent.
Daley was coy on Mitchell's selection chances when pressed on Monday afternoon, however he said it was a possibility despite the teenager only returning from a month-long layoff against the Eels on Sunday.
"I am a fan," said Daley, who has spent time with Mitchell during the All Star week.
"It's not madness to think he could be in the mix. He's a very good kid. He'll play Origin at some point."
It's likely the right edge will comprise of Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson, but if Daley opts to play Jack Bird in a centres partnership with Hayne, Dugan could move to the wing and deny Mitchell of his Origin debut at Suncorp Stadium on May 31.
Mitchell has some powerful figures in his corner, with City coach and Roosters legend Brad Fittler adamant he needed to be in the team for game one.
"If I was coach and Tommy hurt himself, I would most probably pick Latrell," Fittler said.
"I think he is fantastic, always have. The good thing is he has a really good coach who recognises how to get the best out of him. Doing what he did and putting him back to [NSW Cup], obviously Robbo has invested a lot of emotional energy into him and is willing to wear backlash.
"The reason he will most probably be able to go through and play at that level is because of what Robbo has done in the past month. He can be one of the best – he is a beauty."
Mitchell, who said he admires Daley from their time together in the Indigenous All Stars, says representative football has been the last thing on his mind during his hiatus.
But he said he'll be ready if he was to receive a call-up for the opening game of the series.
"I'd have to be ready if they pick me, you know what I mean?" Mitchell said. "It's a big game. You wouldn't want to let anyone down. But I haven't really thought about it to be honest. I have had a few things to work on. If that rep stuff comes, it comes. I'm just trying to get back have fun and play consistent footy.
"It's always good to hear these sorts of things. I played under Laurie at All Stars and he's a great bloke. Fittler is a legend so it's great to hear that stuff. But if it comes around it comes around."
(Sydney Morning Herald)