Latrell Mitchell braces for more boos for ‘bad guys’ Kangaroos

Latrell Mitchell says boos the Kangaroos received from the crowd are a sign of fans' passion.

Latrell Mitchell says boos the Kangaroos received from the crowd are a sign of fans' passion. Photo: AP

Latrell Mitchell says Australia is prepared to be Rugby League World Cup bad guys after receiving a hostile reception in its opening win over Fiji.

Mitchell bagged his first Test try and sent good mate Josh Addo-Carr over the line in the Kangaroos’ 42-8 victory in Leeds on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).

The South Sydney fullback reverted to the centres – a role where he won two NRL premierships with Sydney Roosters – in a team which was given a frosty welcome to Headingley for their first game in nearly three years.

Every time Australia made an error local supporters cheered, and they were even more vocal when Fiji went in for tries.

“There’s a lot of boos and what not. It is what it is, but you have to get on with the job and that’s what I’ve done,” Mitchell said, acknowledging the defending champions would be in for more hostility as the tournament wears on.

“The English crowds are passionate and they bring the atmosphere, which is what we want.

“All I can see is the crowds getting bigger, a lot more atmosphere and more passion and we (the Kangaroos) will come alive.”

Mitchell was dominated in his first couple of hit-ups but, like much of the Australian side, began to find his groove as the game progressed.

Coach Mal Meninga has said that nobody bar captain James Tedesco is guaranteed a start in his side but Mitchell and Addo-Carr neared must-pick status as they rekindled their partnership on a strong left edge.

They combined for the try of the game when Australia were camped on their own goalline and, on the first tackle of the set, Mitchell threw a risky pass out wide for Addo-Carr to race in from 95 metres to score.

“It’s serious. Sometimes he swears at me when he wants the ball,” Mitchell said.

“I can’t work him out. It’s just awesome to be here and have that combination with him again (because) I enjoy that bond that I have with him.

“I try to get him in full flight and then I don’t have to do anything.”

Not all has been plain sailing with the pair under Meninga’s watch.

In 2019 they stayed out until the early hours riding around Auckland on scooters before Australia’s shock loss to Tonga.

Mitchell said he had matured since then and recognised when to relax and when to focus.

“Mal’s given me an opportunity to be here again and I want to make the most of it,” Mitchell said.

“I definitely see myself heading in the right direction and it’s been awesome to be able to display that I’ve grown over the years.”


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.