Latrell Mitchell caught boos from Roosters fans on Friday night

Tom Burgess says the fans booing Latrell Mitchell are a show of respect for how talented the South Sydney full-back is. Roosters players are urging their supporters to sack their former teammate on Friday night.

Mitchell was incessantly booed by Roosters fans as the teams played at the Allianz Stadium in the finals of the 2022 season, but a week later he retaliated with a brilliant performance to knock his former club out of the final.

The treatment of Mitchell and other players is a major concern after the Rabbitohs star was allegedly racially abused while walking through the tunnel at half-time at BlueBet Stadium last week.

While it’s impossible to keep fans from booing — especially when Mitchell has such a strong history with the Roosters — one hopes fans will treat him with respect when the NRL celebrates the Multicultural Round.

“Latrell is a great player who is a leader on and off the pitch. He’s loved by the fans,” said NRL executive director Andrew Abdo.

“Obviously the Souths fans love him but the truth is he’s the kind of player any fan would want on their team so he’ll always get a reaction when he’s up against his former club. That’s part of the sport.”

Latrell Mitchell was allegedly racially abused in Penrith. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

While passion and tribalism are part of our game, Roosters playmaker Luke Keary wants fans to dismiss Mitchell in one of the most heated games of the year on Friday night, based on what happened when the teams last met.

“We don’t want to see that in our game,” Keary replied when asked if fans would boo.

“This is a difficult time for Latrell. He’s part of our family here at the Roosters. We all love him. Hopefully the game will get around him.

“He’s going through a difficult time so you don’t want to see our Roosters fans or other fans going out and constantly shoving the boot in his shoes, especially in this situation.”

Mitchell had the last laugh in that final, prompting the two-time Premiership winner to rename Allianz Stadium ‘Trelliance’.

Mitchell dismembered the Roosters the last time the teams met. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The reception he gets on Friday night will be loud from both sides, but team-mate Burgess says being booed by opposing fans can be taken as a show of respect.

“Fan taunting is part of the game,” he told the NCA NewsWire.

“We saw it in boxing on Sunday when Tony Harrison was booed. It’s part of it and you have to expect a little bit of it.

“There’s obviously a certain feeling considering Latrell came from the Roosters, but it more reflects that Latrell is a good player. If you’re booed, it means you’re doing the right thing.

“Wally Lewis used to get booed a lot, so that’s part of the game.” Latrell Mitchell caught boos from Roosters fans on Friday night

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