NRL superstar Latrell Mitchell has paid tribute to his teenage cousin following the youngster’s tragic death last weekend.
Mitchell returned to training on Monday despite being offered time off to cope with the death of his 14-year-old cousin following a car crash around Jubullum Mission in far northern NSW on Saturday morning.
The full-back, who sources said was heartbroken after the news, put on a brave face as he returned for the first day of pre-season training with fellow stars Damien Cook and Cody Walker.
He later shared an image of his cousin on Instagram with the caption, “Love ya my baby cuz” alongside a broken heart emoji.
It is understood the young relative was in a vehicle with four other boys before the driver lost control and crashed into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene, as was another 15-year-old boy.
Mitchell opted to attend training on Monday, with the Bunnies keen to get back on track after a disappointing 2023 season in which the club was accused of giving preferential treatment to the full-back and his experienced teammates.
Souths have recruited Mitchell’s close friend Jack Wighton, who is said to be joining his new club for training next week.
Just weeks prior to the tragic incident, Mitchell had traveled across NSW with some of the state’s most senior police officers to help launch a program aimed at keeping children off the streets.
Deputy Commissioner Gavin Wood said officers who had worked with Mitchell were saddened for him and his family after the tragedy.
“He has been a great supporter and advocate both within the Youth Command and the NSW Police Indigenous platform,” Mr Wood told police. Daily telegram.
“He traveled with us to launch the Fight For Success programs in the northern and western regions of the state.
‘Prior to that time he had been heavily involved in the anti-violence programme, helping us with important messages around young people and expectations about their behavior and conduct.’
Earlier this month, charges against Mitchell and his friend Jack Wighton were dropped in the ACT Magistrates Court, a day after a senior police officer involved in their arrests admitted giving false testimony to the court.
In body-worn camera footage submitted to the court, Mitchell can be heard shouting: “I’m Latrell Mitchell” as he begged for help and cried in pain as police arrested him in the early hours of February 5 in Canberra tried to fascinate.
You could hear him yelling ‘because I’m a black dude?’ and ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’.
CCTV footage shows Mitchell obeying police orders to get on his knees before several officers pinned him to the ground.
Mitchell was charged that evening with resisting territory officials, fighting in a public place and affray.
Lawyers for the pair will now consider whether further action will be taken against ACT police or the Crown Prosecution Service.
More to follow.