Souths back Mitchell after four-game ban

South Sydney star Latrell Mitchell has copped a four-game ban for dangerous contact.
South Sydney star Latrell Mitchell has copped a four-game ban for dangerous contact.

South Sydney football manager Mark Ellison has thrown his support behind Latrell Mitchell, rejecting any suggestion he is a dirty player following his four-game ban.

Mitchell's on-field behaviour was brought into question over the weekend, with the superstar fullback charged for three separate incidents in the Rabbitohs win over Wests Tigers.

A dangerous contact charge for a late hit on David Nofoaluma after he kicked proved the most costly, rubbing Mitchell out for four games and ruling him out of the Dally M race.

Ellison sat beside a frustrated Mitchell throughout his 50-minute judiciary hearing on Tuesday night, as the Souths star failed in his bid to have the ban downgraded to one game.

While Mitchell did not speak to awaiting reporters as he left the judiciary hearing, Ellison defended the 23-year-old's on-field record.

"I don't think he is (a dirty player)," Ellison said.

"I think he was caught by circumstances in this incident. It's bad luck for him and the outcome.

"We're obviously disappointed with the result. We came in hoping for a downgrade and didn't get it."

Mitchell's main defence in the case centred around a claim he was trying to avoid contact with Nofoaluma when his forearm collided with his opponent's head on Saturday night.

The fullback's lawyer Nick Ghabar also claimed the contact was "glancing", and would have been far more dangerous had Mitchell not turned his back as he did.

"He's trying to avoid contact with Nofoaluma," Ghabar told the panel.

"Whereas if he continues on his previous path he would've made shoulder contact."

But the three-man panel of Dallas Johnson, Bob Lindner and Ben Creagh took just eight minutes to disagree, backing claims from NRL counsel Peter McGrath that Mitchell was careless.

The result rules Mitchell out of the Dally M race given his ban is for more than two matches.

He will also now have just a fortnight to impress NSW State of Origin selectors on his return, which will come just weeks before teams are named.

On a marathon judiciary night, Ghabar used the same Jake Friend late shot on Adam Clune from last year to try and argue Mitchell's and Paul Momirovski dangerous contact charges should be classed as grade ones.

But on both occasions he failed.

Penrith centre Momirovski will spend three games on the sidelines as a result for a late hit on Brisbane half Tom Dearden that eventually connected with his head.

Ghabar had argued for Momirovski that the initial contact was lower on the arm and only deflected onto Dearden's ahead, but again the same panel disagreed.

Sydney Roosters lock Victor Radley had a far better night, getting off what would have been a three-game ban for a high shot on Cameron Munster.

He was able to get the incident downgraded to a grade-one charge, and will now pay a $1900 fine rather than spending any time on the sidelines.

Australian Associated Press