Latrell Mitchell and Will Chambers go head-to-head off the field.
Latrell Mitchell and Will Chambers go head-to-head off the field.

Red-hot Mitchell ready for the Roos

LATTRELL Mitchell should win his first Australian Test jumper on Monday after turning Will Chambers State of Origin nightmare into a full blown horror show.

Mitchell dominated Chambers - mentally and tactically - in a display which embodied the level of harassment that the Roosters inflicted on the Storm, doing a Melbourne on Melbourne.

Australian coach Mal Meninga will name the Kangaroos team for Tests against New Zealand and Tonga on Monday.

Latrell Mitchell topped of an astonishing year. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
Latrell Mitchell topped of an astonishing year. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

While Meninga is one of Chambers' greatest supporters, Mitchell must be a great chance of partnering the man to whom he is so often compared, Souths skipper Greg Inglis.

Mitchell set the tone for the match when he stepped inside Chambers for the first try, no mean feat against a man recently rated the game's finest defensive centre.

But it was the continuation of a trend which started in the State of Origin series where Mitchell broke 18 tackles in the first two games and Chambers missed 11.

Chambers has a reputation for being an arch niggler whose sledging is so precise that he has specific lines for specific players.

But Mitchell has the perfect reply by not replying at all. His Origin coach Brad Fittler told him the best way to get under Chambers skin was simply to smile at him.

This tactic was evident late in the first half when Chambers was bundled into touch and he and Mitchell ended up have a brief wrestle before Mitchell flashed his tactical grin.

Clearly rattled, Chambers conceded a penalty soon after.

It just wasn't his night for in the same period of the game, with a try begging, he slipped when stepping off his right foot for what surely would have been a try.

"He always wants to bait me off my game," Mitchell said last week.

"I just play footy and try not to worry about what he has to say.''

Mitchell's dominance of Chambers is a worry for Queensland because until it ends the Maroons could never feel comfortable about their State of Origin backline.

The Roosters win owed much to the sheer willpower of their side.

With Cooper Cronk severely incapacitated, the rest of the squad were like human cattle dogs primed to give an extra 20 per cent because they knew they were effectively one man down.

Melbourne never got into the game.

 

Mitchell again proved he is one of the game’s brightest talents. (Brett Costello)
Mitchell again proved he is one of the game’s brightest talents. (Brett Costello)

The early signs were bad when Storm players trying to run the ball out of their 20m were brutally driven back by a posse of defenders who were driven men in every way.

Melbourne, for all their greatness and the pristine state of a recent record which has seen them make the finals every year since the salary cap scandal in 2011, face an interesting future.

With Billy Slater retired and Cameron Smith to go soon they must regenerate quickly under the guidance of Cameron Munster who, outstanding that he is, had a complete shocker including two stints in the sin bin.



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