Spencer Leniu reveals brilliant gesture from Latrell Mitchell amid awkward Origin development

The two players are teammates for NSW and have moved to put any lingering animosity aside.

Spencer Leniu has revealed how Latrell Mitchell pulled him aside at the start of NSW State of Origin camp to bury the hatchet with his new teammate. Mitchell's return to the NSW team came with the awkward detail that he'll be teammates with Leniu, who he heavily condemned when he racially abused Ezra Mam.

Leniu was hit with an eight-game suspension for calling Mam a 'monkey' during the Roosters and Broncos clash in Round 1 in Las Vegas. Mitchell came out an publicly slammed Leniu at the time, saying: "I applaud anyone (non indigenous also) for calling racism out. This is just something now we have to stay prepared to deal with which is the saddest part. I love my culture, it is something that should be shared.

“For me it’s about making sure Ezra Mam is alright. I think after the game … it’s stuff that shouldn’t be tolerated and rubbed out of the game. I hope Peter (V’landys) and Andrew Abdo take serious consideration to the way this should be dealt with. For me it opens up a lot of wounds and scars for my people and my family. You do have to understand the way we feel.”

Latrell Mitchell and Spencer Leniu in NSW State of Origin camp.
Latrell Mitchell and Spencer Leniu have buried the hatchet in NSW State of Origin camp. Image: Getty

With Mitchell back in the NSW team for Origin 2, it opened up the possibility of some animosity lingering between himself and Leniu - who made his NSW debut in Game 1. But Leniu revealed on Tuesday that he and Mitchell got on the front foot and buried the hatchet straight away.

"Me and Latrell are all good," Leniu told Channel 9. "He pulled me aside and spoke to me yesterday and that shows how good of a person he is. He pulled me aside and let me know to put our differences aside and rip in.

"He has my back and I have his and [we will] give it to some Queenslanders. It gave me a lot of confidence and relief that we're all good. As soon as I cross this white line, if you're beside me, I will protect you until we're finished. Latrell is gonna be beside me ... I will have his back."

Spencer Leniu in NSW State of Origin camp.
Spencer Leniu is ready to rip in for NSW in State of Origin 2. Image: Getty


Speaking before Origin camp, Mitchell dismissed any thoughts of awkwardness with Leniu. "Now the reflection is all done and everything's sorted. The NRL dealt with it and we put it behind us," he said. "We have to move forward and we have a job to do. I think me and him will talk and we'll let bygones be bygones… lessons have been learned and we'll go from there."

Leniu also addressed the scandal before making his Origin debut in Game 1, saying: “When you go through tough times like that, you’ll know really quickly who your circle is. The only opinions that matter are the ones in your circle. No one was talking to me for eight weeks except those who were in my circle, and they are only ones who matter. Stay staunch to who you are and what you believe.”

Leniu made a good first impression on debut and provided plenty of spark off the bench for the Blues. The Roosters prop is eager to go one better and grab his first win in State of Origin in Melbourne.

"You dream about those moments," he said. "I was just trying to keep my emotions in check while I was out there. Before, we had to build relationships, but all those relationships are built now and we can just rip into training and not step on each other's toes."