The 24-year-old had to watch on from the sideline as the Rabbitohs made a run for the grand final after copping a six-week suspension for a high shot on Roosters centre Joey Manu.
Four-game rookie Blake Taaffe pulled on Mitchell’s No.1 jersey in the star fullback’s absence and didn’t look out of place.
Taaffe had been rumoured to be in the mix to replace departed halfback Adam Reynolds, however assistant coach Ben Hornby recently said the 22-year-old is more of a fullback — and revealed fellow young gun Lachlan Ilias will get first shot.
Taaffe will start next season at fullback given Mitchell isn’t due back until Round 3, but after the first two weeks he’ll hand the position back over... or will he?
Mitchell — who was speaking at the launch of his Indigenous NFT art collection — teased to reporters on Wednesday that perhaps some changes were afoot.
“I’m pretty interested in another position but I won’t go there yet...
“I’m joking — I love fullback — I just enjoy it. I think I’ve got a big impact at the back and with our front-rowers going forward, I can grab the ball and do my part.”
“I love Blake. I would have done the ‘old Latrell’ and taken off back to Taree when I got suspended, but I wanted to stick around and help mentor him and help with his confidence.”
Mitchell will make his long-awaited return in Round 3, against the Roosters. Coincidence or not, the two-time premiership winner isn’t too bothered by the fact he’ll face the team he riled up back in Round 24 last season.
“People want to see the games, it’s going to happen eventually, so why not put it when I come back?” he said.
“It’s a game of footy, it is what it is. I’ve had to move on now and get past all the criticism I’ve copped but that’s the game we play.”
Aside from a potential positional switch for Mitchell, there’s a lot of other changes happening at Redfern.
Jason Demetriou has taken over the coaching reigns from Wayne Bennett and the club will need to appoint a new captain after Reynolds’ exit.
Mitchell was said to be in the mix along with Cameron Murray, Damien Cook and Cody Walker, however he’s ruled himself out of contention.
“I’ve always seen myself as a leader in the game. To lead a club, I’d put my hand up for that, but it’s not my time yet, it’s someone else’s time,” he said.
“There are a lot of great leaders at the club and in the team.
“I want to focus on my footy and keep improving before I take that next step.”