Fullback or bust for Latrell
FOR South Sydney to get the most out of superstar signing Latrell Mitchell he must succeed at fullback according to former Australian Kangaroos centre Ryan Girdler.
Girdler, who played 227 games and won a premiership with Penrith, said the only position Latrell would be suited to under coach Wayne Bennett at Redfern is in the No.1 jumper.
"If you put him at one he is going to get a lot of football, I don't think there is any other position for him at South Sydney if he's that system," Girdler said.
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"But he's such a gifted guy that I think he'll do a great job at no. 1 when he gets his fitness right and used to the contact that comes with playing at fullback."
Despite winning two titles with the Sydney Roosters playing at centre, Girdler believes Mitchell wouldn't add the same value for the Rabbitohs in that position that he did at the Bondi club.
Girdler said the structures Tricolours coach Trent Robinson had in place for Mitchell helped unlock his potency on the left edge - where as Bennett's approach of "letting guys play football' wouldn't get the most out of the new recruit if he was forced back into the centres.
"Sticking him out in the centres and not having the systems in place where you are getting him the football like the Roosters did - they got the best out of him because they always had a good plan and had players on the inside that could execute the plan to get him the ball," Girdler said.
"When you think about the way that Wayne Bennett coaches it's more about defence and effort and he just lets guys play football which is why he got the best out of Cody Walker last year. I think if you put Latrell in the centres for South Sydney he's probably not going to get the same opportunity that he got at the Roosters."
With James Tedesco owning fullback at the Roosters, Mitchell was released from the back-to-back premiers to join the Rabbitohs, where he will get the chance to pursue his No.1 ambitions.
Rabbitohs great Greg Inglis had a similar experience when he was in Melbourne - where he played at five-eighth and in the centres - and a move to Sydney allowed him to develop into one of the best fullbacks to have played the game.
"Don't you hate comparing him to G.I. but it's so hard not to. Greg went through the same process will Billy Slater at the back there at the Storm and he felt like he needed to move to play a different position and went from playing at six and in the centre to fullback … and look what he did there at South Sydney."