A PROUD Latrell Mitchell has earned one of his highest accolades - the True Blue Award - at the 2021 Brad Fittler Medal, being recognised for his leadership skills by the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coaching staff and True Blue legends Brad Fittler, Greg Alexander, Craig Fitzgibbon and Danny Buderus.
The True Blue Award began in 2014 and is given to a player who displays the qualities upon which the NSW team ethos is built. Previous recipients of the award include Daniel Saifiti, Josh Addo-Carr, Tom and Jake Trbojevic, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, and Brett and Josh Morris (joint-winners).
"It's a big honour, because the coaches see the qualities and character (needed to play for NSW)," Taree's Mitchell told nswrl.com.au.
"It's a proud moment for myself, not being known as the footy player but as a teammate, bringing the leadership qualities, character and everything that comes with it."
Such qualities include a team-first mentality and high effort in defence, which were on display in Mitchell's game two performance which saw him produce a one-on-one steal leading to a try, followed by a 90m intercept to extend the Blues' lead.
The man who presented the award, NSW assistant Greg Alexander, spoke of Mitchell's "journey" as a player, and the Blues' strike centre was especially pleased with his personal progression from his last Origin appearance in game one, 2019, to the 2021 series.
"I thought I took it (playing Origin) for granted at times," Mitchell added.
"There was a period there where I didn't play for a year and I looked back on that, reflected on myself and what I needed to work on.
"I'm proud of where I've come from then until now, the leadership qualities that I've grown and the resilience that I've grown, and I think it shows now.
"Looking at the plate (True Blue Award) and seeing all the names on it, it's an honour for me, a prestigious award being known as a great teammate and role model - it's good to be acknowledged for that."
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