Some time has passed since the Indigenous All Stars battled the Maori All Stars at AAMI Park, but it was a week that will last with Latrell Mitchell for a lifetime.
Mitchell was on his way to a training session with the North Sydney Bears while he waits for the first grade squad to return to training on Australian soil, so he stopped by for a chat to reflect on a memorable week celebrating his culture.
When reflecting on the passionate war cry he led for the first time in his career ahead of kick off, he remembers the pure pride and passion he felt in that moment.
Highlights | All Stars 2019
“There was pure passion running through my veins,” he said when recalling the war cry.
“I remember feeling the presence of my ancestors standing beside me, it was a really freaky feeling.
"I was so ready for that week and for it to build up the way that it did was incredible.
“It was special to go up against the Maori’s for the first time, do our war cry and go back at them with something after they delivered such a passionate haka.”
He recalled the exact moment he was asked to lead the war cry, as well as where he drew his inspiration as the leader.
“I found out earlier in the week when we started practicing the war cry.
“All the boys pointed at me when they asked who wanted to do it, so I put my hand up straight away to lead the way and I never took a backward step with it.
“I watched some old video’s of G.I (Greg Inglis) doing it to get some inspiration, but threw myself into it to add my element.”
It was a moment that meant a lot to Latrell, and one that would be easy to feel overwhelmed by.
Leading into what was such an important game, he knew that it was the right way to represent his team, his people and his culture.
“For us, it was about being proud and standing tall.
“We’re about to go to war with each other, but we’re also representing our people and our country.
“I felt that we needed to welcome them, but we’re also about to compete with each other and play hard against each other.
“That was just a part of it though, all up I honestly could not have pictured a better week.”
Mitchell capped off a memorable weekend by watching his Sydney Roosters teammates become World Club Champions after a win against the Wigan Warriors.
He admitted it was hard to watch the boys compete without him, but said that he felt joy watching them play hard and hold the trophy on the podium after a hard fought victory.
“Watching the boys was hard, but to see them out there working on those combinations and seeing some depth with our squad was awesome.
“Watching Brett was great too, he scored three tries in my position.
“I sent him a cheeky message after the game saying ‘don’t get too comfortable in that left centre spot,' even though he was on fire,” he said with a laugh.
“I was really happy with their effort, they really put in.”