Injured Blues star Latrell Mitchell has admitted he « wasn’t close at all » to playing in game two this weekend, but has revealed he is eyeing a spot in Brad Fittler’s side for the series finale.
Mitchell, who starred in last year’s 2-1 series win, has left a gaping hole in New South Wales’ side as he recovers from a serious hamstring injury.
« I wasn’t close at all, » the South Sydney star told 9News.
ULTIMATE GUIDE: State of Origin Game II
READ MORE: Joey lauds Blues’ ‘masterstroke’ for game two
READ MORE: Dolphins sign former Origin centre for 2023 NRL squad
READ MORE: Rory McIlroy torches ‘duplicitous’ rebel stars
« It wouldn’t have been fair on myself if I ended up playing this week. I just wanted to get myself right and prepared well for South Sydney. That’s my own choice, not the club’s, not anyone else’s. »
Despite missing the first two games of the season and having not played a single match since April 9, Mitchell isn’t ruling out a heroic appearance in game three at Suncorp Stadium.
The Blues need to win in Perth this Sunday to level the series and force a decider.
« Good luck to the boys and I hope they get the job done. If they get it done, I’ll be definitely keen for negotiating positional spots for game three, » he said.
« I’m pushing for (his return). Definitely for Souths fans at home, be patient, I know you have been. I’m keen. I’m honestly (champing) at the bit. »
Mitchell said he’d virtually learned how to walk again during an intense five-day training camp in the United States, saying the lessons were « things you wouldn’t even think about ».
Watch State of Origin exclusively live and free on Channel 9 and 9Now
The 25-year-old has scored six tries in seven Origin appearances and would undoubtedly bolter a Blues attack that looked shaky in the series opener.
NSW will hope to tie up the three-match series when they take the field at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Sunday evening for game two.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!