True Blue and Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns has thrown his support behind embattled South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell following his difficult start to the season.
Mitchell joined the Rabbitohs from the Sydney Roosters in the off season and signalled his desire to wear the No.1 Jumper at Redfern.
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has backed him to make the grade at fullback but benched him after 55 minutes in the opening round against Cronulla-Sutherland and switched him to back to his usual position of left-centre during the loss to 22-18 Brisbane on Friday night.
Mitchell came under fire from his former Roosters teammate Cooper Cronk last week following his decision to return to his home town of Taree prompting the Souths custodian to return serve as he had been taking his heavily pregnant partner home to be cared for by family.
Johns has previously pushed for the Kangaroos star to remain at left-centre despite the 22-year-old's ambition to become fullback, but believes the more pressing priority should be his welfare after the criticism he is receiving.
"I hope he's okay Latrell," Johns said on the Sunday Kick Off
”He's under all sorts of pressure. Anytime you open a paper, or anyone talks to you in the street about footy, it's always (about) Latrell.
"I hope he has the right support around him.
"Until you're in that situation, when you're in that glare when you think that everyone is talking about you, it can be very, very hard to handle.
"I hope everyone that is close to him continues to support him."
Mitchell will now prepare for a blockbuster clash against his former club when the Rabbitohs take on the Roosters on Friday night.