If there is one Indigenous player Jamie Soward would have loved to have played alongside during his career it would be Latrell Michell.
A former NSW Origin and Indigenous All Stars player himself, Soward was discussing the power and reach of Indigenous Round, which the NRL is celebrating this weekend, in Round 12 matches.
Soward told the NSWRL’s ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ segment that the Rabbitohs fullback can light up a football field whenever he steps out.
“I was lucky enough to play one game with GI (Greg Inglis, 2016) but I watch Latrell Mitchell and he has that X-factor,” Soward said, emphasising his importance to Indigenous fans across the NRL.
“He’s in my (Blues) team. He’s got the ability to be able to create something out of nothing,” Soward said.
“Plus he’s fit enough to play fullback for South Sydney and has been in such good form for South Sydney. So I think he has to be in the side.”
Behind Blue Eyes | Round 12
Mitchell has played four Origin matches but was dropped after Game I in 2019. Despite missing a month through suspension, he is in the mix for a recall in 2021 with his five tries and seven try assists from seven Rabbitohs games.
The Bryden’s Lawyers NSW Blues side is named at the completion of the Indigenous round this Sunday.
Soward said the game celebrations and specially-designed jerseys meant a lot to not only players with Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander heritage, but players of all backgrounds.
“It’s a great round to represent your community, your mob, your people,” he said.
“We’ve had some great indigenous players who have led the way like Johnathan Thurston … but Preston Campbell, also for me, he was the leader for a lot of it.”
Campbell was instrumental in getting the first Indigenous v NRL All-Stars game up and running in 2010 at Cbus Stadium. The first round dedicated to Indigenous and Torres Strait Island players began in the same year.
The NRL announced in the lead-up to Indigenous Round that 12 per cent of current NRL players are Indigenous.