Phil Gould's NRL truth bomb for Latrell Mitchell as Sam Burgess issue re-emerges

Mitchell's expletive-laden interview has exposed other issues at Souths.

Veteran NRL commentator Phil Gould says Souths only have themselves to blame over the Latrell Mitchell interview controversy because the club failed to "pull him into line" earlier in his career. Mitchell has come under fire across the NRL world after his post-match interview following the round two loss against Brisbane, where the 26-year-old dropped a number of F-bombs in an expletive-laden interview with Triple M radio.

The fact the Rabbitohs fullback said he was aware he was swearing and didn't care rubbed many league fans up the wrong way. So too, did the fact Mitchell then turned the focus onto himself and the fact he'd scored his 100th career try, despite the fact his side had been thoroughly outplayed and the superstar fullback made some glaring mistakes.

Pictured right to left, Phil Gould and Latrell Mitchell.
Phil Gould says Latrell Mitchell should have been pulled in line earlier after his expletive-laden interview sparked controversy. Pic: Getty

Gus Gould comments echo Sam Burgess criticism

While Mitchell has faced backlash for the interview, Gould says plenty of blame has to lie with South Sydney. The Channel Nine commentator says he thinks "Mitchell has become bigger than some of the people that are trying to control him" at the club and suggested he's not held to account like other teammates - a suggestion former Souths assistant Sam Burgess made before he left the club last year.

"I said very early in his career, if you don't pull him into line now you're never going to be able to and I think that Latrell Mitchell has become bigger than some of the people that are trying to control him," Gould said on Nine's 100% Footy. "For Latrell the only advice I would have at the moment is that if he wants to be outspoken, if he wants to be heard - and he does want to be heard, he demands respect from everybody on all sorts of fronts, he speaks out openly on a number of issues, demanding respect - you also have to show respect.

"And that's all that was the other night, I'm not worried about the expletive language... it doesn't offend me, but at that time at that place on that platform, you don't swear, it's as simple as that. For him to do that is a total lack of respect, a lack of respect for his teammates, for the game, for the media, and the people that are listening at home wanting to see how he felt after that game. He needs to respect those processes as much as he wants people to respect the things that he's passionate about. It's as simple as that."

Gould's comment about Souths not reining in Mitchell touches on what Souths legend Burgess touched on before he left his assistant role at the club before the end of last season. It's understood Burgess fell out with coach Jason Demetriou for calling out slipping standards at training and suggesting superstars Mitchell and Cody Walker were given preferential treatment.

Pictured right is former Souths assistant Sam Burgess and Latrell Mitchell on left.
Former Souths assistant Sam Burgess left the club last season after suggesting Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker were given preferential treatment. Pic: Getty

Latrell Mitchell and NRL cop it over explosive interview

NRL great Paul Gallen said the most disappointing thing for him about Mitchell's interview was how he made it about himself by talking up his 100-try milestone. "That's the part for me if you're a Souths fan or Souths player you're like 'Latrell it's not about you mate, it's about the team'... that's the issue for me," Gallen said.


The NRL has also been slammed for the decision not to sanction Mitchell for the explosive interview. The Souths player also escaping punishment for speaking about the ban he thought Spencer Leniu should receive, before the case had been heard by the NRL judiciary. Leniu was ultimately handed an eight-week ban, which was well short of what Mitchell was suggesting.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo will reportedly sit down with Mitchell at Souths headquarters this week to discuss some of his behaviour. But the decision not to sanction the player was slammed by NRL 360 hosts Braith Anasta and Paul Kent on Monday night.

“I’m sick of the excuses, every player gets interviewed after the games, and all of us at training and in our lives swear,” Anasta said. “But we know we are being watched by kids, fans, it is our responsibility to not swear and do the right thing by the game... he swore five times and said he wasn’t apologising. But there’s been nothing done about it."

Kent added: “The question is why, it wasn’t the slip of a tongue, footballers swear in their day to day conversations, but every footballer who goes and gets interviewed refrains from that. Because they understand how important it is to get the right message out there. That’s the public face you put on. Latrell not only said it multiple times, but he said he wasn’t going to apologise.”