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Corowa’s advice to Mitchell to turn Souths season around

Andrew Mathieson -

When one of the first Aboriginal legends of the game played – well before his time, Larry Corowa’s game as a black man was simple.

Run fast, run straight (to the try-line) and keep your mouth shut.

It worked pretty good for Corowa in a brief, but literal blistering career at Balmain.

The winger from Tweed Heads was there to score tries and nothing else.

Not even to hand out advice to teammates.

While an admirer these days of Latrell Mitchell’s game, who commonly plays fullback for South Sydney but often in the centres during representative appearances, the fact that both men play in similar spots on the field could be the only thing they have in common other than natural talent.

Not speed, which Corowa had in spades, regarded as the fastest man in rugby league more than 40 years ago, akin to a Josh Addo-Carr over much of the past decade.

One of the few times Corowa voices an opinion is on the urging of Mitchell to focus on the task at hand for the Rabbitohs and to put the team first to get the Bunnies out of their winless early-season slump this year.

“Latrell doesn’t do himself any favours – he just needs to concentrate on being the class player he is and do everything to win for the team,” Corowa told Nine’s Wide World of Sports.

“He needs to let his football do the talking – stop looking at the big screen (and) stop intimidating.

“Be a team player and everyone will love the new Latrell.

“Put your head down, train harder, simple…and the results will come.”

Mitchell, obviously like any current player, never witnessed Corowa cross the line 64 times across just 98 first-grade matches from 1978 until 1983 before coming out of a long retirement in 1991, aged 34, adding two more games for Gold Coast Seagulls with his final career try.

But the 26-year-old could click on YouTube and search for Corowa’s 1978 highlights.

Corowa amazingly scored 24 tries in his NSWRL debut season that eventually led to a spot in Australia’s Test touring party to Great Britain at the end of the year.

In an era where Aboriginal players faced constant racist slurs, Corowa rarely copped a bad word on or off the field.

Mitchell’s stance to call out racism and be outspoken on issues affecting Indigenous players or people, while should be congratulated has interestingly had the opposite affect among many of the paying public or keyboard warriors more than 40 years on.

The Rabbitohs fullback’s latest incident that has drawn heavy criticism came from a sin-binning after his tangle with his Roosters opposite number, James Tedesco, in Souths’ 48-6 defeat to its archrival.

As the first true Aboriginal rugby league superstar in rugby league, Corowa is aware of the pressures the highest profile Indigenous player in the modern game faces.

Mitchell was booed every time he touched the ball against his former side by the pro- Roosters crowd at Allianz Stadium last Friday night, but Corowa appeared somewhat critical of the attitude not to fight harder against adversity when the bounce of a ball goes awry.

“I didn't have many haters back in the day – they were pretty much all good from all of the supporters from every team,” Corowa said.

"But when I did cop some stick, it just made me more determined to try harder.

“Latrell needs to take the same approach.”

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