AAP Rugby

Manu will be best in the world: Mitchell

By AAP Newswire

Latrell Mitchell has declared Joseph Manu is destined to become the best centre in the rugby league world.

Mitchell is unequivocal in his praise of his Sydney Roosters teammate after being upstaged in Australia's shock Test loss to New Zealand on Saturday.

A rampaging Manu showcased his Sonny Bill Williams-like qualities, including a powerful fend and a skilful late offload in traffic to wreak havoc on the visitors in Auckland.

He sent Mitchell reeling out of a tackle after palming him off close to the line before stepping over him to score.

"He's got a strong fend. It caught me by surprise," Mitchell said.

"I'm normally the one doing it. I just got whacked with it."

The Tokoroa native has come of age during the past few months and was one of the Roosters' best during the finals and their grand final win.

Just over a year ago, he was dropped to reserve grade for the Roosters' finals campaign but has emerged as a star in his own right in 2018.

He's earned a reputation as having one of the best late offloads in the game and was at it again on Saturday as he sent Jordan Rapana over in a play that was shades of his memorable grand final try-assist for Blake Ferguson.

"I'm disappointed in myself, letting him play so well," Mitchell said.

"I don't doubt he's going to be the best centre in the world one day. It could even be next year.

"He just turns it on. It just depends how hard he's willing to work. I'm willing to help him out and sharpen him up."

Manu was supported by a large contingent of family who made the three-hour drive to Auckland from Tokoroa and was unlucky not to be awarded man of the match honours ahead of Shaun Johnson.

Mitchell and Manu have played on the opposite side of the field since they were teenagers coming through the Roosters' grades.

However, Saturday was the first time they had faced off against each other and the experience left Mitchell in awe.

Mitchell has received a stream of accolades but is adamant Manu is better.

"I genuinely believe he can be the best centre in the game," Mitchell said.

"I get the raps and it's not for me to say.

"The last two years I've seen him grow as a player. He's just an unbelievable talent. I wish I could do the things he does."