South Sydney star Latrell Mitchell has put on a brave face after returning to pre-season training with the Rabbitohs on Monday, just days after the tragic death of his 14-year-old cousin. Mitchell was understandably said to be devastated after learning that news that one of two young boys killed in a car accident in northern NSW on Saturday was his relative.
Two teenage boys died and three others were hospitalised after the horror crash in Tabulam, about 60km west of Casino. Emergency services were called to Plains Station Rd after reports of a single-vehicle crash at 3:20am on Saturday morning. A Volkswagen Tiguan reportedly lost control and smashed into a tree.
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Two teenagers were declared dead at the scene by paramedics. “Three teenagers were taken to hospital, with one in a serious condition while the two others are being treated for minor injuries,” a spokesperson from the NSW Police said.
Two teenagers have tragically been killed after a crash in northern NSW. Police say the Volkswagen lost control and hit a tree west of Casino. https://t.co/PGGIGjvETH #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/t4HYmZcU97
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) November 11, 2023
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb told the publication it was a “a tragic waste of young life”. The other teenager killed is believed to be 15.
Latrell Mitchell returns for pre-season training after tragedy
Despite the devastating family tragedy, Mitchell returned for pre-season training with the rest of the Rabbitohs squad on Monday and seemed in good spirits as he reunited with some familiar faces and met some new teammates. The 26-year-old was reportedly given the option to push back his return date to pre-season training in the wake of the tragedy, with the club mindful of the star's mental well-being.
Images from the Rabbitohs pre-season session showed Mitchell being put through his paces, with the star fullback posting a number of photos to his Instagram account. One image showed the fullback standing in the sheds with five-eighth and good friend Cody Walker and was captioned: "The boys are back in town".
After the session, Mitchell also posted a heartbreaking tribute to his late cousin. The 26-year-old shared a photo of the teenager with angel wings on his Instagram story with the caption: “Love ya my baby cuz”, accompanied by a broken heart emoji.
Latrell Mitchell has been through a tumultuous 2023
The tragedy comes amid a difficult time for Mitchell. The 26-year-old copped widespread criticism for his lacklustre performances in the last few weeks of the NRL season as the Bunnies failed to make the finals.
Mitchell was suspended for the final round of the regular season, watching on from the sidelines as the Rabbitohs lost to the Roosters and missed out on the finals. It marked the first time in the NRL era that a team has failed to make the finals after leading the competition as late as round 12.
Mitchell started the year in fine form but suffered a calf injury that kept him on the sidelines for more than two months and saw him miss the State of Origin series for NSW.
The superstar fullback was made to front court earlier this month, but fighting charges levelled against him and Jack Wighton were thrown out when the police case collapsed. The most senior police officer involved in their arrest - Sergeant David Power - admitted he gave false evidence and lied under oath while testifying about the incident in Canberra.
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