Mitchell can be Hayne, GI at No.1: Daley

Laurie Daley has high hopes for Latrell Mitchell's gradual transition to fullback this NRL season.
Laurie Daley has high hopes for Latrell Mitchell's gradual transition to fullback this NRL season.

Don't expect Latrell Mitchell to play like Billy Slater in his first game at fullback for the Indigenous All Stars, coach Laurie Daley has warned.

Indeed Daley admitted he wasn't even sure if fullback was the right position for the ex-Sydney Roosters centre ahead of Saturday's clash with the Maori All Stars on the Gold Coast.

However, Daley said he wouldn't be surprised if Mitchell ended the year in the South Sydney No.1 jersey and earning comparisons with Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne.

All the hype ahead of the NRL All Stars clash's return to the tourist strip may have been dominated by Mitchell's much anticipated duel with Maori No.1 Kalyn Ponga after the NSW centre made the off-season switch to fullback.

Yet Daley initially tried to play down expectations for South Sydney recruit Mitchell on Friday.

Asked if he thought fullback was Mitchell's best position, Daley said: "I don't know to be honest.

"He's not going to be the finished product tomorrow night, he is far from that.

"Anyone expecting Latrell to play like Billy Slater, they are going to be disappointed."

But Daley was still pumped to see what Mitchell could produce in the No.1 jersey, conceding the 22-year-old could scale the heights of NRL great Inglis and two-time Dally M Medal-winner Hayne by year's end.

"I am excited to see his first game at fullback and then his last game at fullback this year because I think his growth and development will be massive," Daley said.

"If he puts his mind to it you will see a strong response.

"If you want him to be of the Jarryd Hayne or Greg Inglis mould that is what you will get - and they were fair players.

"If he turns out anything like those two, South Sydney, Australia, NSW and the Indigenous teams will have a good player on their hands."

But Daley admitted Mitchell wouldn't have it all his own way lining up against Queensland No.1 Ponga.

"There will be things that he does that will put us under pressure and make us sit back in the coach's box and say 'that's too good'," Daley said of Ponga.

Maori coach David Kidwell warned Ponga was primed to step up on Saturday as they looked to bounce back from last year's 34-14 loss to the Indigenous outfit on their All Stars debut last year in Melbourne.

"Everyone talks about his attacking prowess, but I have been impressed with his defensive qualities and the way he speaks to the boys (in camp)," he said.

"He is a future leader that is for sure."

Meanwhile, the Maori women will look to back up last year's 8-4 win over the Indigenous All Stars in the curtain-raiser.

Australian Associated Press