Broncos rookie Gehamat Shibasaki faces ‘biggest challenge of career’ against Latrell Mitchell
May 14, 2019
Brisbane’s greatest centre Steve Renouf says rookie Gehamat Shibasaki has been “thrown into the fire” as he prepares for a head-to-head battle with Roosters star Latrell Mitchell at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold on Tuesday named 21-year-old Shibasaki on the right edge for their Round 10 clash at Suncorp Stadium as a replacement for out-of-favour centre James Roberts.
The Townsville junior was impressive on the right wing during the Broncos victory over Manly in last week’s Magic Round, when he ran for 123m, made two tackle busts and a line break.
His reward in just his fourth NRL game is the biggest challenge in his embryonic career – containing Mitchell, who has emerged in recent seasons as one of the most dangerous players in the competition.
Mitchell was at his damaging best against the Raiders last week at Suncorp Stadium, scoring a double and returning to the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious groin injury.
He has since been cleared to play and former Broncos great Renouf said he would present rookie rival Shibasaki with a massive test.
“Shibasaki’s been thrown in the fire there a bit,” Renouf said.
“We’re all seeing at the moment what Latrell is doing, so it’s a big test.
“Without a doubt, this is his biggest challenge so far.
“Latrell’s arguably the No.1 centre in the game right now so it’s a bit of pressure for the young fella, but hopefully he’ll handle it.”
It was shaping as an enticing battle between the incumbent New South Wales Origin centres Roberts and Mitchell, but the Broncos flyer has instead been named on the extended bench.
Mitchell is making a strong case to retain his Origin spot this year, having scored eight tries in nine games on his left edge.
His 19 tackle busts and six try assists are a reminder how much of a handful he will be for Shibasaki.
“He’s got so much strength,” Renouf said.
“He can run over top of you. He’s got that big palm.
“Even pushing up on his outside to push him back in to the inside defence, might be the way to go.
“It probably comes down to having two blokes tackle him.
“It’s not easy and I think young Gehamat is going to have his hands full.”
Jamayne Isaako returns to the starting side this week after he was named on the right wing following the season-ending knee injury to Jack Bird last week.
New recruit James Segeyaro, who joined the club this week, has also been left out of the side, named in the No.18 jersey.
Source: Courier Mail