NSW's Mitchell keen to silence Maroons' Origin boasts
Latrell Mitchell has fired an early shot at Queensland, claiming the Maroons incorrectly believe they have an ownership on State of Origin.
After opting to sit out last year's series to undergo a rehabilitation programme on his hamstrings, Mitchell is back in the NSW set-up at centre for May 31's series opener in Adelaide.
The 25-year-old watched the Blues' 2-1 defeat from his living room last year.
Mitchell says what irked him most was claims that the NSW players lacked the same will to win or desire for the jersey that the Maroons proudly trumpet.
"The game is built for Queensland, isn't it? It's Queensland's game and we're just passengers by the sounds of it," Mitchell told AAP.
"Queenslanders like to pretend they own Origin and we (NSW) just sit in the shadows on the sidelines and wait for our time.
"We want to bring it back to NSW for our fans, it (the shield) belongs here.
"We're passionate and I hate hearing that Queenslanders deserve this game because they're more passionate and turn up."
Mitchell insists he made the right decision to sit out last year's series, pointing to his form with South Sydney at the back end of 2022 and through the opening rounds of this season's premiership campaign.
"I made a decision not to play because it was my body and I wanted to pay Souths back for what they've been able to do for me," he said.
"In a way people think it's selfish but I felt like it was selfless in a sense.
"I got the opportunity now to represent this year because I've got the body right to be able to go to another level."
Mitchell will slot back into a backline which was significantly depleted last year, with a fit-again Tom Trbojevic and a recalled Josh Addo-Carr back in the fold.
The NSW back five is identical to the one which hammered Queensland 50-6 in the 2021 series opener and Mitchell was hopeful of a repeat performance.
Sadly for Mitchell, there will be no chance to reprise his long-running Origin battle with fellow centre Dane Gagai.
Mitchell was surprised that the Maroons, who are famed for their pick and stick selection policy, dumped Gagai in favour of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow who comes in for just his second Origin game.
"I was a bit surprised, I thought he (Gagai) was in great form this year," Mitchell said.
"Billy's got different visions and is trying to back himself.
"I won't be taking the foot off the throttle."