Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Shaquai Mitchell seemingly had no future in the game just a couple of years ago as he had given up playing Rugby League to battle mental health issues and gained a substantial amount of weight.
After signing with the South Sydney Rabbitohs last year, the 25-year-old would only go on to play two games for the club’s Knock-On Effect New South Wales Cup side with doubts that he would ever make it any further.
Upon returning to preseason training though, Mitchell had dropped an astonishing 25kgs and according to Rabbitohs head coach Jason Demetriou could make his NRL debut in 2022, with Charity Shield selection believed to be on the horizon.
Mitchell has now earned yet another opportunity as Indigenous All Stars head coach Laurie Daley confirmed on The Big Sports Breakfast that he has been called into the Indigenous squad to replace Jack Bird.
“Yes, Jack Bird pulled out so Shaq comes in,” Daley replied.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing him play because I spoke to his coach last night Jason Demetriou and he said for a big man he has tremendous skill.
‘Haven’t seen him play’: Latrell Mitchell’s brother’s shock call-up to Indigenous All Stars side 🧐🔁❓
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“I haven’t seen him play. I remember hearing and reading about him coming through the junior grades.
“It is exciting because we have had three or four guys that have had NRL careers when they haven’t been under contract with clubs.
“They have been on train and trial contracts and all of a sudden they play in this game and they play well and they get some confidence, then they go back to their clubs.
“Josh Kerr and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown are two examples and all of a sudden they establish themselves.”
Kerr appeared on SEN 1170 Breakfast this morning and gave an insight into what getting the opportunity to play in the All Stars game meant for him.
RISE & SHINE!
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“It was probably the most scared I’ve ever been, if I’m being honest,” said Kerr.
“It was a dream come true. I was thrown in the deep end.
“I was very lucky I had a lot of good people around me, and I got to live out a childhood dream.”
Shaquai Mitchell will hopefully be sharing a similar sentiment as he takes the field this Saturday in the NRL All Stars game.