After learning of Mitchell’s premature departure from training, the Herald contacted Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett, who confirmed the superstar signing had been sent for tests.
Bennett said Mitchell was one of four players who were refused entry after admitting to flu-like symptoms, but wouldn’t name the other players.
“We are all following protocols. We all want to be back playing footy and we all understand what it is going to take – there wasn’t one complaint today,” Bennett told The Herald on Monday night.
“The doctor questioned them upon entering the training facility and our medical staff were there with doctors to undergo screening. They were asked all questions about whether they had a sore throat, runny nose or have been coughing.
“If they had one of those symptoms in the last 24 hours we sent them straight off to be tested for coronavirus. We should have the results back by tomorrow morning. If they are symptom free they’ll be fine and back in with everyone else. If they are positive, then they never entered our facility.”
Several television cameras and photographers were camping out for Mitchell, who was last week fined $20,000 for posing with a group of 12 men during a camping trip, which was a breach of the government’s COVID-19 protocols. The pair were later charged by police with firearms offences.
“They put stuff out there on social media, which didn’t look good,” South Sydney teammate Damien Cook told the Herald.
“And I think if they had their time over again they might have thought differently, just given the situation. I think it was Latrell’s good nature where he thought he was helping people. There was no malice in it. Like everyone, he just wants to get back to playing and training and being around the boys.”
Three-time premiership-winning coach Trent Robinson also sent a scare through the Sydney Roosters after being tested for coronavirus on Monday.
Robinson woke with a sore throat and elected to visit the home of a doctor rather than greet his players, who were returning to training for the first time in six weeks since the NRL competition shut down.
“You can’t go in there with 50 guys, you can’t risk anybody, so I stayed away,” Robinson said as he awaited results on Monday night.
“I’ll be fine. There’s no temperature. And as you can hear there’s nothing wrong with me. It would have been easier for me not to say anything and go to work, but that’s not the point of it … that’s not the point if we want to get the game back on.”
Michael Chammas is a sports reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.