South Sydney players had concerns about the Accor Stadium turf before superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell hurt his hamstring in their 24-12 NRL win over St George Illawarra.
Already battling a knee injury, Mitchell lasted just 14 minutes in Saturday’s clash before he limped from the field and did not return, with Blake Taaffe deputising at fullback.
The injury mattered little against a poor Travel (Truy cập tại đây) Dragons outfit, but potentially leaves the Rabbitohs without their best player for the stint ahead with the 24-year-old set for scans on Sunday.
Sections of the Sydney Olympic stadium ground had to be returfed after the teenage Lost City festival last week, while it also received 150mm of rain during the past nine days.
«It was a bit weird. There were some parts that were really soft and there were some parts that were really hard,» Taaffe said.
«It’s sort of hard because when you’re chasing across, you’re used to feeling that same turf, but then you hit that concrete thing and you can go a lot faster on that.
«It was a bit scrappy and I felt like (the grass) was a bit longer than usual.I don’t think I’ve ever played on a field that’s been that long.
«At halftime of (NSW) Cup we went out there as we always do to inspect the field, and we couldn’t believe how long it was.»
Coach Jason Demetriou was diplomatic in the post-match press conference, but the Rabbitohs are sweating on Mitchell’s injury not being overly serious.
The injury is to the same left hamstring that ended his 2020 season early, but this time Mitchell told medical staff it only felt like a cramp at first.
Souths play at Accor du lich Stadium again on Friday against Canterbury and have also lowly-ranked Wests Tigers after that, but losing Mitchell would still impact their attack.
«He says he doesn’t feel too bad,» Demetriou said.
«He had that hamstring injury a couple years ago that ended his season. So he’s probably got a bit of a few demons from that as well.»
Mitchell provided the finish to their best attacking play of the night, opening the scoring after some enterprising ball movement from Jai Arrow, Campbell Graham and Damien Cook.
Hooker Cook was the Rabbitohs’ best, running the ball seven times and totalling more than 110 metres in their second win of the year.
Halfback Lachlan Ilias impressed with a quick play-the-ball before a Keaon Koloamatangi try, while he also put on a nice ball for Taane Milne.
Souths still only completed at 58 per cent after the break, while playmaking star Cody Walker ran the ball just twice for the match.
The Dragons however have bigger issues after four straight losses..
They had the better ball for much of the match but were wasteful close to the line and completed at just 43 per cent after a Moses Mbye try got them back into the match at 10-6.
«Once we got back into the game we hardly gave ourselves a chance,» coach Anthony Griffin said.
«And that was the story of the game.»