Latrell Mitchell has declared himself unavailable for State of Origin selection despite making a successful NRL comeback in South Sydney's 30-12 upset win over Parramatta.
Mitchell has voluntarily withdrawn from contention for Origin III, leaving Matt Burton, Jack Wighton and Stephen Crichton jostling for two spots in the centres.
"I think I'm going to shut those headlines down now, I'm going to pull myself out (of Origin) and worry about Souths and focus on myself," Mitchell told Fox Sports.
"They've got a real good team there, NSW, and good luck to them and Burton in the centres.
"Give Crichton a go too. I really want to focus on South Sydney and getting myself right for the backend of the season."
Playing his first game since injuring a hamstring in round five, Mitchell focused more on getting through the 80 minutes unscathed than putting on a rugby league masterclass.
When the game was in the balance, Alex Johnston put his hand up for yardage carries more often than Mitchell, while the halves took on the vast majority of playmaking duties.
Mitchell did break through the line to ignite the play that put the result beyond doubt in the 65th minute.
And coming off the back of a hefty loss to St George Illawarra, in which they conceded 32 points in 30 minutes, the Rabbitohs took confidence from Mitchell's inclusion as they regained composure in attack.
"It was a lot better," coach Jason Demetriou said.
"As a club and as a team, we were really disappointed in that first 30 minutes against the Dragons.
"We saw a fair difference tonight."
Souths are the most error-prone team in the league but somehow managed to hold the ball better in the wet than they do when it's dry.
By the time they made an error, they had completed 11 of 11 sets and had scored two tries.
Called up late for just his fourth NRL appearance, centre Isaiah Tass had a hand in both, first batting Cody Walker's pass on to Johnston before catching a Jaxson Paulo chip kick that he offloaded to Jai Arrow.
Demetriou hooked Lachlan Ilias 28 minutes into the clash with St. George Illawarra but the young halfback bounced back and looked far more comfortable.
"I've got a great relationship with Lachie, I've got a lot of belief in him," Demetriou said.
"He got out, did his job, grew into the game and had some really good touches."
With the loss, the Eels missed a great chance to keep in touch with the premiership leaders.
Instead, Parramatta fell victim to the trend that has typified their season to date - losing games they are expected to win.
The Eels average 14 offloads per game but appeared gun-shy in the wet and only created four second-phase plays.
Without that aspect of their game, Parramatta didn't trouble the Rabbitohs who controlled the battle for territory with ease, despite the wet.
"We need 17 guys all owning their jobs and doing their jobs and we're not getting that each week," Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
Rabbitohs prop Hame Sele suffered a hamstring injury 12 minutes into the game and could spend some time in the casualty ward.
As Sele watched on, Souths prop Thomas Burgess led the forward pack with 175-run metres.
Sele was joined on the sidelines by another front-rower, Mark Nicholls, who failed his head injury assessment in the second half.
Australian Associated Press
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