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Mitchell the catalyst as Souths find form

South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell gave NSW a reminder of what they missed in the State of Origin decider as he delivered a masterclass in the Rabbitohs’ 36-28 win over Canterbury on Sunday.

Mitchell opted against featuring in game three in Brisbane after returning from a lengthy lay-off which involved him heading to the US for a specialised rehabilitation program on his hamstring.

Souths coach Jason Demetriou said it was money well spent, and it was hard to argue given Mitchell turned the game with a solo try and set up three more as the Rabbitohs strengthened their grip on seventh spot.

But Mitchell, whose seven games of Origin experience were desperately missed in the Blues’ 22-12 defeat last week, conceded it hurt to watch NSW lose.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make,” Mitchell said.

“I wanted to pay the club forward. I didn’t want to be selfish in that space where the club has invested so much in me.

“I really wanted to turn up tonight and prove a point and I think I did.

“It was hard to watch (the Blues lose) but (Queenslander) Jai Arrow is my teammate and I’m glad he got the win.”

Mitchell has built form each week since his return, and it was his game-changing run through Canterbury’s defence which turned the match after the hour mark.

It was a pointed reminder of why Souths can’t be written off with their star fullback back and fully firing.

“I suppose I have built my career on big moments,” Mitchell said.

“It’s those moments when I’m starting to bring the boys together.”

Mitchell’s return has led to Souths stringing three straight wins together and Demetriou’s side are beginning to find their groove after a wobbly start to the season.

Damien Cook and Cameron Murray will return for next Saturday’s game against Melbourne and Mitchell said he was feeling more comfortable back in the side.

“I think it comes with confidence each week,” he said.

“I’m not thinking too far ahead and I’ve learned now just to focus on the day-to-day.

“The boys are getting around and making sure that when things get hard and the going gets tough, we turn up for each other, and tonight we did.”

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