Latrell Mitchell detail called out, unfair backlash for Warriors: Good, bad, ugly of NRL round 11

Warriors fans are being taken to task for their celebrations after they beat the Panthers.

😃 The good: Ricky Stuart shows he 'gets' it

😔 The bad: Warriors fans cop unfair backlash for celebrating

😡 The ugly: Latrell Mitchell and Rabbitohs go from bad to worse

It's no secret Ricky Stuart polarises NRL fans. On second thoughts, scrub that. Polarising hints the split is around 50-50.

In Ricky's case, there’s not a great deal of love for him outside of Canberra. The haters come for him on any number of fronts. But can you imagine the game – or the Canberra Raiders - without him?

At a time when the rugby league world is fawning over Wayne Bennett and working out how to keep him coaching until he’s 112, not a great deal was made of Stuart’s contract extension at Canberra. He will be there until the end of 2029 and that’s got to be a good thing for a club that punches above its weight more often or not.

Ricky Stuart.
Ricky Stuart looks on during a Canberra Raiders game.

Stuart is so passionate about turning them into a perennial force it borders on obsessional. He "gets" Canberra more than anyone.

It was there to see during Magic Round when he invited the 1994 premiership team into the dressing room after the Raiders' tight win over Canterbury. Stuart played in that side and has worked overtime in taking former players along for the ride while infusing current players with a sense of what it means to pull on the lime green jumper.

He does it because he wants his team to feel the same bond and friendship in 20, 30, 40 years' time. Stuart's relentless pursuit of a premiership hasn't materialised yet. But you can be assured every waking moment of his life over the next six years will be dedicated to that cause.

Geez, we can be killjoys at times in rugby league. Been there, done that plenty of times myself.

But we had to do a double take when venturing onto social media to read the reaction to the Warriors’ sensational win over Penrith. Their fans were being bagged for celebrating like they’d won the premiership.

Apparently, there’s now a meter to register how supporters should acknowledge a gutsy against-the-odds win. Golf claps and a thumbs up all round. Garbage.

The injury hit Warriors’ shock win over the NRL’s superpower was the highlight of Magic Round. Coming off a draw and four straight losses - and missing a galaxy of frontline players – the Kiwis' challenge was expected to last about as long as a schooner at the Caxton.

Yet, somehow, they conjured up a win for the ages over the premiers, up there with the greatest wins in the club's history. If that's not a reason to party, what is?

Teams supposedly aim up – for a short time at least – when there's a change of coach. It seems that particularly memo didn’t lob at Souths HQ following Jason Demetriou's forced exit a fortnight ago.

There's been no discernible difference in the Rabbitohs' performances since JD was sacked, with the losses continuing to mount. The six-point defeat at the hands of North Queensland in Brisbane marked a new low in a season of them.

The six-point margin indicates a close contest but you never got the sense the Bunnies were capable of winning. And this was against a Cowboys side on a four-match losing streak. Both sides looked like they'd forgotten how to win. North Queensland remembered quickest.

Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton in action for Souths.
Souths still have the likes of Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton, but can't win.

We all know Souths are missing a number of key players but they still had Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Alex Johston, Jack Wighton, Keaon Koloamatangi, Jai Arrow and Tom Burgess in their line-up. That's seven players who have played for state and/or country.

That's enough class and experience to be doing better than one win from 10 and 17th place on the table. Expect a big player clean-out over the next few months as Wayne Bennett identifies those players simply not up to NRL standard.

Check back in every Monday throughout the NRL season for Adam Lucius' 'Good, Bad and Ugly' column.