Barnstorming centre Dane Gagai is known for taking his game to another level on the Origin stage, but it was his opposite man and Rabbitohs teammate Latrell Mitchell who had the rub of the green early on in Game Two.
Mitchell sent rugby league pundits into a frenzy on social media with a stunning intercept try midway through the first stanza.
After an uncharacteristic error from James Tedesco gave the Queenslanders a chance to attack the Blues’ line, those from south of the Tweed had reason to be nervous.
But off the back of a strong showing in Game One, Latrell Mitchell quickly stifled any momentum their northern cousins had gathered, picking off a Valentine Holmes pass and running nearly 90 metres to score the Blues’ second.
HOLYYYYY LATRELL MITCHELL! 🥵
Na uhhhh, he isn't here to play around. #Originpic.twitter.com/fPegPuG5S6
Fans and NRL experts could hardly believe their eyes, taking to social media to laud Mitchell’s effort.
Latrell Mitchell… that is all. #Origin
Mitchell magic! He does it all! #Origin
What a series so far by Latrell. He’s on 🔥🔥🔥🔥 #Origin
Best half by an individual in Origin history? My goodness Latrell Mitchell #beastmode#baller#Trellpic.twitter.com/EwwMozeuKd
“Big moments. Big players. Superstars stand-up,” Rugby league Immortal and Blues great Andrew Johns said on Channel 9.
“First try one-on-one break, this time the intercept from Latrell Mitchell, you can feel the Queensland team coming back, got another six to go. But, you talk about vision in attack.
“Latrell Mitchell, he sticks the left mitt out and he has still got 80 metres to run, he knows he has got the pace and he paces himself and he gets there in the end.
“But it was a horrible set by the Queenslanders, very disjointed, they couldn’t get the ball to their star players and Latrell, he got himself in the defensive line, the ball came to him and he did the rest, what a player.”
It wasn’t Mitchell’s first gamechanging moment of the night.
At nil-all, the Rabbitohs star pulled off a one-on-one strip deep inside enemy territory to give the Blues a crack.
His side capitalised in a big way, sending Josh Addo-Carr over for the first try of the evening.
The two moments of brilliance make it hard to believe the 24-year-old was dropped from the NSW side for last year’s series.
“Remember when Latrell Mitchell had one bad game and should never have been picked again? Kid is a freak and will only keep getting better,” tweeted Blues great Willie Mason.
When Tom Trbojevic found the chalk in the 32nd minute, the Blues had an 18-0 halftime lead, and it appeared it could be Groundhog Day for the Maroons.
“They are picking it up where they left off in Townsville,” commentator Ray Warren said at halftime, referencing the Blues’ record 50-6 win in the series opener.
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