January 25, 2022

‘To be a centre is cool again’: How Trbojevic and Latrell’s class made centre position relevant again

3 min read

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

No more than twelve months ago, the centre position in rugby league was dead. It was an afterthought, filled with second-rowers and seemingly computer-generated machines part of a side’s “system”.

God bless the New South Wales coaching staff and the superstars that won them the 2021 series in Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell.

To be a centre is a cool again.

Not long ago you got dirt in contract negotiations if you wore the numbers 3 or 4.

And it only took a masterful offensive plan to bring them back.

Last year, the Blues played Jack Wighton and Glint Gutherson in the centres.

It wasn’t the reason NSW lost the series but when you compare that combination to Trbojevic and Mitchell and the game plan instilled in 2021, it’s like trying to compare a Datsun with a Maserati.

So good were NSW’s imperious tactics, the world’s best player James Tedesco became a bit-player which allowed ‘Turbo’ and Latrell to run rampant.

Most representative coaches would look at Tedesco and base everything around him.

They didn’t.

Tedesco freed up the rest of the side.

Trbojevic got to show how special he truly is.

He could actually be a better player than Tedesco.

Latrell did Latrell things.

Not long ago, NRL players had to shift out of the centres to get better money.

“Fullback money” they call it.

The regular competition has a lot to live up to.

Especially the coaches ruling over sides at the other end of the premiership table.

Imagination is an amazing thing.

Under the NRL’s current laws, the Blues have been able to feed like pigs in shit.

It doesn’t change the result.

NSW deserved to win.

The Maroons were poor.

NRL.com’s Chris Kennedy gave four Maroons players ratings of 3 or less.

His colleague Troy Whittaker on the same site gave 9 players a rating of 8 or higher for the Blues.

As good as the Blues are, and they’ll be this good for several years, QLD just had nothing.

Several of their players will never represent their state again.

You can hear some from north of the border already saying Origin is dead.

Paul Vautin mumbled the same thing on Channel Nine’s broadcast after another demolition.

Really?

The Maroons won eight-straight series.

Instead of sulking, work out why you’re struggling.

It’s not all about talent on-field.

The Queenslanders have been destroying that myth for years.

Origin is Origin.

Maroons coach Paul Green has been completely out-coached by Fittler and his offsiders.

Destroyed. Embarrassed.

QLD can’t possibly win Game III.

You would think Newcastle will get their first ever Origin match in a week or two.

What a party for the rugby league city in the Hunter?

They deserve it.

It is a strange time, but it doesn’t matter to the Blues.

They’d flog the Maroons with one arm tied behind their backs.

@woodward_curtis

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