Second issue with Latrell interview, worrying signs for Benji: Good, bad, ugly of NRL round 2

Xavier Coates sent the NRL global once again, amid ugly scenes for Latrell Mitchell and Benji Marshall.

Xavier Coates, Latrell Mitchell and Benji Marshall.
Xavier Coates send the NRL global amid ugly scenes for Latrell Mitchell and Benji Marshall. Image: Getty/Triple M

😃 The good: Xavier Coates' extraordinary match-winner

😔 The bad: Latrell Mitchell's post-match interview

😡 The ugly: Bad signs for Benji Marshall and Wests Tigers

Xavier Coates try helps promote NRL in America

For all the millions spent promoting the NRL in the US, Xavier Coates' leap into rugby league immortality does more to promote the code than anything the game's PR machine can churn out. Within hours of Coates' astonishing match-winning touchdown against the Warriors, the vision was going around the sporting world.

As for the Yanks, not all understood the magnitude of the feat because to them reaching the end zone is the job completed. Despite Russell Crowe's educational videos, many don’t realise in rugby league you also need to plant the ball down. But who really cares if they get it or not?

Xavier Coates.
Xavier Coates produced an incredible try to win the game for the Melbourne Storm.

League fans know they've got a great game and Coates' extraordinary display of acrobatics just reminded us of that at a time where there are a few negatives floating around. There was high drama in Townsville, with Chad Townsend potting a golden point field goal to get the locals home.

At Brookie Oval, tremendous scenes as fans "sardined" into the old joint to watch two old Sydney rivals thrash it out in a heavy-duty clash. There were also sell-outs at Shark Park and Penrith, while Suncorp was heaving as Brisbane recovered from their Vegas disappointment. How good is it to have the footy back?

Second issue with Latrell Mitchell's expletive-laden interview

The Latrell Mitchell "swear-athon" radio interview tells you a lot about where he is at with his football. Forget the expletives that poured from his mouth during a live cross for a minute – we will get to that.

It's Mitchell's whole demeanour that is concerning. It was just minutes after the Rabbitohs, a team many tipped to win the comp, had sunk to their second straight loss to start the season when Latrell was asked about the loss to Brisbane.

He praised the Broncos with a few F-bombs thrown in and then said he was "very happy" because he'd crossed for his 100th career try and it "was something to celebrate". We're not sure if angry and frustrated Rabbitohs fans would agree.

One hundred four pointers is certainly something worth commemorating but probably not right then and there when your teammates and fans are hurting. Aaron Woods summed it up pretty well when he said it was a poor look by 'Trell' to turn the attention on himself instead of the team.

Mitchell polarises fans as it is – some say he doesn’t put in a full shift while others claim him to be the heart and soul of the Bunnies. This won’t help.

As for the swearing, let's get one thing straight first. We are no snowflakes and are not generally offended by four-letter words, having gone down that road many times. But surely you can curb your language when you’re the figurehead of your club and you're conducting a live interview. Really, is it that hard?

Awful signs for Benji Marshall and Wests Tigers fans

Look away now if you’re a Wests Tigers fan. After a disappointing start to the Benji Marshall era in Canberra, the road ahead looks just as bumpy for the NRL's worst side.

Next up is the in-form and unbeaten Cronulla at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday night. In their last 11 encounters against the Sharks stretching back to the 2015, the Tigers have just the solitary win - in 2020 – to show for their efforts.

And if you think a return to their spiritual home will make all the difference, think again. Leichhardt Oval is not quite the fortress it's made out to be.

The Tigers have played at the "Eighth Wonder of the World" 32 times in the past 10 seasons for just 13 wins and 19 losses. That's a success rate of around 40 per cent.

The good sides' home ground records hover around the 80-90 per cent win range. He is only one game to his NRL coach career and their season is only one game long, but already the wolves are baying at Benji Marshall's door.

It's not so much the loss in Canberra – that was expected – but the way it unfolded that had fans asking why they're putting themselves through another season of torture. The Tigers did well to fight back from 14-0 down but the same old schoolboy errors and lack of composure we've seen time and time again in recent years again came to the surface. Not good enough.

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