Warriors woes deepen amid fresh Latrell Mitchell fallout: Good, bad, ugly of NRL round 10

Major concerns surround the Warriors and Latrell Mitchell in the NRL.

😃 The good: Daniel Atkinson steps up in the halves for the Sharks

😔 The bad: Latrell Mitchell's underwhelming return for Souths

😡 The ugly: Warriors struggles worsen as injuries mount

You couldn't blame Craig Fitzgibbon for kicking Braydon Trindall to the kerb for the rest of the season. Trindall's run-in with police let down many people but none more than the Sharks coach. Fitzgibbon went out on a limb to back the inconsistent playmaker, moving players on or resisting the temptation to bring in a new face to partner Nicho Hynes.

Pictured left to right, Cronulla NRL stars Daniel Atkinson and Braydon Trindall.
Daniel Atkinson has stepped up in the Cronulla halves for Braydon Trindall, who was stood down for several alleged offences. Pic: Getty

He decided Trindall was going to be his man at No.6 and dedicated much of the off-season on strengthening the halves combination. And there were encouraging signs the Trindall-Hynes marriage was starting to heat up. "Tricky" played a major role in the big round seven win over North Queensland before allegedly going overboard with the celebrations and running into trouble with the law.

No timeframe has been put on his return to football as he awaits his day in court on drink-drug/driving offences. Trindall's selfish behaviour was a personal insult to Fitzgibbon, who has driven a team-first ethic since arriving in the Shire. Many thought Trindall's absence would really be felt when Hynes pulled out of Saturday's heavyweight clash with Melbourne hours before kick-off.

Tricky would have slotted straight into the key playmaker role. But Daniel Atkinson's starring role in the Sharks' tremendous win has left Trindall the forgotten man. It was one of the great understudy performances of recent times, especially given the quality of the opposition. As Cronulla winger Ronaldo Mulitalo said after the game: "The job is his (Atkinson's) to lose."

As far as comebacks go, Latrell Mitchell's return to the NRL was as miserable as the weather at Kogarah on Saturday night. The Souths fullback drifted in and out of the game and he looked fatigued at different stages in his first match since April 6.

Fox League commentator Corey Parker questioned whether Latrell's heart was really in the contest after a failed attempt to knock the ball dead allowed Jack de Belin the easiest of tries seven minutes from fulltime. "(He's had) three weeks out. In that time Jason Demetriou had been fired and the club is under enormous amounts of pressure and their marquee player – their number one man - was coming back into the fold," Parker said.

Seen here, Souths fullback Latrell Mitchell.
Souths fullback Latrell Mitchell struggled in his return to the NRL from a three-game suspension. Pic: Getty

"I was excited to see what Latrell was going to dish up here this evening. In the first half he had two runs and scored a try but the intent was sort of down. The desire for him to inject himself into the game, the desire for him to show his teammates that he's there for the cause (isn't there).

"In the second half he's been caught out of position and his fitness doesn't look like where it needs to be and then that example there (failing to knock the ball dead)." Mitchell is a fullback running around in a centre's body. The sooner the Bunnies shift him there and away from the No.1 position, the better their chances of making something out of this season from hell.

The Warriors were the feelgood story of 2023, winning games and playing before sellout crowds back home. The Kiwis made it all the way to the preliminary final and coach Andrew Webster was deservedly crowned Dally M coach-of-the-year.

We read how the Wahs were challenging the All Blacks for popularity and every kid wanted to grow up to be the next Shaun Johnson or Addin Fonua-Blake. But the hype around the Warriors is starting to subside as we fast approach the halfway point of the season.

Sunday's 38-18 loss to the Roosters was the club's sixth defeat of the year and its fourth in a row. They've won just three games and fought back late to draw with Manly, placing them a lowly 14th after 10 rounds.

There's time to turn it all around but the signs against the Roosters weren't great. They were down 26-0 at one stage before staging a mini revival to avoid a complete embarrassment. To make matters worse, influential playmaker Johnson left the field with a pec injury and strike centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is out with a hamstring tear.

That's ahead of a tough month of football which sees the Warriors meet Penrith (away), Dolphins (home), Cowboys (away) and Storm (home). Their season could be done and dusted by the time that horror run is over.

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