Latrell Mitchell has been one of the more divisive players in the NRL, but the Souths fullback has shown his real self in a classy act.
South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell may be aggressive on the field, but on Friday night, the NRL superstar has shown he’s a big softie off it.
With just under 40 seconds remaining in what had been a frustrating 26-12 loss to the Penrith Panthers in the grand final rematch, a grubber kick was defused by Mitchell as he booted the ball out of play.
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With no hope of pulling off a miraculous win as the seconds ticked on, it turned out to be the final play of the match as he stopped the Panthers from scoring one more time.
But unfortunately, the ball he kicked out of play hit an elderly woman in the front row of the crowd.
When Mitchell realised, he went to apologise and check on the woman who was clutching her head.
The clock ticked down and went off before play restarted.
After the match, Mitchell went and gave a set of boots to the woman, who appeared to have recovered from the accident.
SMH court reporter Sarah McPhee tweeted: “Can we pls check on that lady?” before adding “Phew, a hug from Latrell”.
In the moment, the commentators were not quite sure what was happening.
“That looked like a nice moment, having a little chat with that fan,” Fox Sports commentator Dan Ginnane said.
Matt Thompson said on Channel 9’s coverage: “Oh, I think the ball has hit one of the young kids in the crowd. Oh, it’s an old lady and he’s gone to check on her welfare. That’s nice.”
After the match, the cameras caught Mitchell returning to the woman and giving her a hug, but photos revealed he also gave her a pair of boots.
Mitchell has long been a divisive figure in the game including the messy way he exited the Roosters for South Sydney and the ugly tackle which ended his 2021 season when he was suspended for six weeks for his hit that left the Roosters’ Joey Manu with cheekbone fractures requiring three metal plates to be inserted into his face.
While Mitchell may have vowed to keep his aggressive ways on the field, his true colours shine through in moments like this.
Originally published as Latrell Mitchell gives hug, boots to woman he accidentally hit with ball