“It was very fulfilling to watch those games last year; all the HIA [head injury assessments] and injured. I was absolutely appalled at how brutal it was. Seeing Queensland treat it the way they did in Game 3 made me… annoyed, so to speak. I was 100% screaming at the TV and moving on like everyone else.
“It’s the competition, it’s the passion, it’s two states. It’s the pinnacle of our game and I love putting on this jersey and going to the game with the pride and passion that I bring.
“For me, I’m going to focus on now, this week and getting it right. Then I’m going to bring the beast out on Wednesday night.”
Mitchell is back in the Blues line-up alongside Tom Turbojevich and Josh Addo-Carr, who trained on the right wing this week, with Brian Too’o on the left alongside Mitchell – as was the case in 2021, when a record rout in the race and a Townsville man won an easy series.
The stunning Origin comeback, still ranked as one of the best games of Mitchell’s career, came after a drastic layoff and dramatic turnaround from Rooster to Rabbit in 2019.
Mitchell candidly, holding a Tooheys New can That night in Townsville, he was on a mission to “make NSW proud again” and reverse the trend of his own formative years, when fans south of the border were drawn to Queensland’s years of success.
At his own home, Mitchell said with a smile that eldest daughter Inala will be watching Origin next Wednesday, but would prefer a ball game.
“But my youngest, she’s more excited about rugby league than I am,” he said. “Holy crap, she’s got some jerseys. One day we might have an NRLW player.
“She loves to put on her Blues jersey, wear her Bunnies jersey all the time – I can’t get her out of it.”
Meanwhile, Addo-Carr’s Blues recall will reunite the two pals.
Mitchell has been asked more than once in the last year to comment on the controversial origin felling of his favorite Flyers. Likewise, he stuck to his advice every time, knowing full well that any dissent would be noticed.
With Adokar needing to prove his fitness on Sunday as he returns from an ankle injury that initially kept him out of Game 1, Mitchell regularly checked out the Bulldogs’ Speedster last week. Like the rest of us, he’s still in the dark.
“I’m texting him everywhere, asking how he’s doing, if he’s going to play,” Mitchell said.
“The lad kept brushing me; he was obviously too busy. I was so nervous, I didn’t know how he was going to go, or if he would come in [to Fittler’s side]but it’s nice to see him back.
“He made me feel more comfortable in training camp with us on the same team. He came off the edge and had that aura about him. I’m proud of the way he came back.”
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