Origin News: Moses feels for ‘scapegoat’ Hynes, Latrell makes peace with Leniu over racism incident


NSW halfback Mitchell Moses has offered his support to Nicho Hynes after his State of Origin axing, labelling the ousted Blues No. 7 a media “scapegoat”.

After playing in a Blues outfit that was reduced to 12 men for 72 minutes in game one, Hynes was a victim of a ruthless squad shake-up overseen by Michael Maguire as the NSW coach bids to save the series.

The Cronulla playmaker has made way for Moses, who is set to make just his fourth Origin appearance in Melbourne next Wednesday as the Blues look to get level with the Maroons. 

Moses sympathised with Hynes’ plight, adamant the circumstances of the series opener meant he had little chance to show he belonged at Origin level. 

“I’ll be sure to reach out to him after this, it’s unlucky,” Moses said. 

Mitchell Moses. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)[/caption]

Both of NSW’s tries in game one came off kicks and Moses is eager to let recalled centre Latrell Mitchell loose on the Queensland.

“I think it’s our job as halves is to dish the ball and get the ball to him in spots where he loves it,” Moses said. 

“He’s a quality player and he’s obviously been picked for a reason. He’s such a big influence on a team. He has such a big influence on the team and he’s just got that aura about him that he loves these types of games.”

Latrell clears the air with Leniu

Recalled NSW centre Latrell Mitchell will hold clear-the-air talks with Spencer Leniu after his criticism of the Sydney Roosters prop in the aftermath of the Las Vegas racism scandal.

Mitchell was one of Leniu’s fiercest critics before the prop received an eight-game ban for labelling Brisbane five-eighth Ezra Mam a “monkey” mid-match in March.

South Sydney star Mitchell is one of the NRL’s strongest Indigenous voices but his criticism of Leniu also made him a target for backlash.

Anthony Mundine hit out at Mitchell, who has attempted to keep a low profile in the intervening months. 

Mitchell and Leniu came face to face for the first time as Blues teammates on Monday and are set to bury the hatchet as NSW attempt to level the State of Origin series in Melbourne next Wednesday. 

“Now the reflection is all done and everything’s sorted,” Mitchell said. “The NRL dealt with it and we put it behind us.

“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.”  

Mitchell, who turned 27 on Sunday, has not played for NSW since the 2021 series.

His return to the Blues set-up, with Queensland 1-0 up and on the cusp of a third-straight series, has led to the Rabbitohs figurehead being viewed as a saviour for his state.

But that lofty billing does not sit well with Mitchell.

“That’s what you (the media) are saying. I’m going to play, have fun and enjoy myself,” Mitchell said. 

Latrell Mitchell. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“I appreciate it (being called the saviour), honestly I do. But if I put pressure on myself then I’ll focus on that all week and my preparation will go out the window.

“For me it’s about creating bonds, getting up to (NSW camp in) the Blue Mountains, rugging up and going from there.”

Mitchell is relishing the return to the centres but couldn’t resist a slight jab at the critics of his move to fullback at South Sydney. 

“I thought I’d put in a bit of form at fullback and now I can’t hear anyone,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t matter where you put me, I’ll play my best footy.” 

Even if he was keen to keep a lid on expectations for this series, the returning Mitchell added: “I think I deserve to be here, it’s my arena, I really do.” 

with AAP

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