Fittler to address shock State of Origin accusation
NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler will meet with besieged Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell next week to smooth over claims of racism within the Blues ranks.
The 22-year-old sent shockwaves through NSWRL over the weekend when he told NRL.com he felts as though the Blues "went funny" on indigenous players who did not sing the national anthem in game one of this year's series.
Mitchell also claimed Fittler had not yet contacted him to explain why he was dropped from the side after the series opener.
However, Fittler moved to snuff out the claims on Thursday, saying he had spoken with Mitchell and they had made plans to meet up during a community visit to bushfire-affected areas next week.
Fittler said he was disappointed at the suggestion had racism played a part in Mitchell's axing.
"That just wasn't true, so that's disappointing," he said. "But things get taken the wrong way.
"I understand what goes on and I think he's starting to learn about how to talk to the media and when not to talk to the media.
"I'm fully aware of what he's going through for a young bloke at a young age.
"It's a big decision to be made, so I wish him all the best."
Fittler also questioned the wisdom of players being on social media
"He seems to be at the forefront of what is going on there (with calling out trolls online). I don't do social media. And I don't sympathise with many people who do social media and react to social media," Fittler said.
"It's ridiculous. Seriously. I tell (young players) I don't so social media, it's up to them and it's their choice, but if you want to release some anxiety out of your life, don't do it.''
Mitchell is weighing up his NRL future after a meeting with Roosters boss Nick Politis revealed there is no place for him at the club beyond 2020.
Wests Tigers and Gold Coast remain interested in signing the NRL's top point-scorer and it's believed the Roosters would be willing to release him for next season should he find a new deal.
But for clarity of thought, Fittler had a helpful piece of advice for Mitchell as he determines where his future lies.
"Go and relax, go and breathe and the decision will come out somewhere, hopefully it's a strong one," he said.
The Blues will hold a camp for senior players in line to play Origin in 2020 at the NSW Centre of Excellence on Friday, although Mitchell is not expected to attend.