Maroons star bites back at Joey's Latrell claim

Queensland is wary of Latrell Mitchell's Origin return but the Maroons are denying the superstar centre has already won a mental battle.

Mitchell will play his first State of Origin game in three years on Wednesday night when he lines up for New South Wales at left centre.

Many pundits are tipping the South Sydney wrecking ball to dominate like he did during the victorious 2021 series - the last time NSW held the coveted shield.

And he is having a mighty impact on the Maroons even before he runs onto the MCG, according to Blues legend Andrew Johns.

"He's got that X-factor," Johns told Wide World of Sports' Immortal Behaviour.

"You read in the paper Valentine Holmes is already talking about him, 'I'm going to get in Latrell's face', so he's in their head."

maroons star bites back at joey's latrell claim

Andrew Johns and Ben Hunt.

Queensland veteran Ben Hunt concedes Mitchell is a dangerous player, but hit out at suggestions he has the Maroons shaking in their boots.

"He hasn't got into our heads at all," Hunt said of Mitchell on Monday.

"We've done preparation on him, like you would on any good player - there are a lot of guys in that team who could hurt us as well.

"We can't go into an Origin match completely worried about one player."

Watch the 2024 State of Origin series exclusively live and free on Nine and 9Now.

Last week legendary Blues coach Phil Gould highlighted the defensive gap that Mitchell will look to exploit on Wednesday night.

While defending Mitchell will be a whole-team focus, the job of marking him directly falls to Maroons veteran Holmes.

Hunt has confidence in his teammate to fulfil the assignment.

"Huge threat, we all know what Latrell is capable of and what he's done in the Origin arena," Hunt said.

"We're going to have our hands pretty full trying to hang onto him.

"We need to be very disciplined in how we defend him, defend him as a team. If we give him any bit of room he's going to hurt us.

"We've got faith in Val to do his job. He's been playing Origin for a long time now so he will get out there and do his job."

The Blues are banking on Mitchell's return helping them win in Melbourne to force a series decider at Suncorp Stadium next month.

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