South Sydney players had concerns about the Accor Stadium turf before superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell hurt his hamstring in their 24-12 NRL win over St George Illawarra.
Already battling a knee injury, Mitchell lasted just 14 minutes in Saturday’s clash before he limped from the field and did not return, with Blake Taaffe deputising at fullback.
The injury mattered little against a poor Dragons outfit, but potentially leaves the Rabbitohs without their best player for the stint ahead with the 24-year-old set for scans on Sunday.
Sections of the Sydney Olympic stadium ground had to be returfed after the teenage Lost City festival last week, while it also received 150mm of rain during the past nine days.
“It was a bit weird. There were some parts that were really soft and there were some parts that were really hard,” Taaffe said.
“It’s sort of hard because when you’re chasing across, you’re used to feeling that same turf, but then you hit that concrete thing and you can go a lot faster on that.
“It was a bit scrappy and I felt like (the grass) was a bit longer than usual. I don’t think I’ve ever played on a field that’s been that long.
“At halftime of (NSW) Cup we went out there as we always do to inspect the field, and we couldn’t believe how long it was.”
Coach Jason Demetriou was diplomatic in the post-match press conference, but the Rabbitohs are sweating on Mitchell’s injury not being overly serious.
The injury is to the same left hamstring that ended his 2020 season early, but this time Mitchell told medical staff it only felt like a cramp at first.
Souths play at Accor Stadium again on Friday against Canterbury and have also lowly-ranked Wests Tigers after that, but losing Mitchell would still impact their attack.
“He says he doesn’t feel too bad,” Demetriou said.
“He had that hamstring injury a couple years ago that ended his season. So he’s probably got a bit of a few demons from that as well.”
Mitchell provided the finish to their best attacking play of the night, opening the scoring after some enterprising ball movement from Jai Arrow, Campbell Graham and Damien Cook.