Latrell Mitchell will take the field for the first time since being dropped by NSW when the Sydney Roosters face Melbourne in Adelaide on Friday.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy leapt to the defence of Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell ahead of their second grand final re-match of the year.
Mitchell will take the field for the first time since being controversially dropped for State of Origin II when the Roosters host the Storm on Friday.
And Bellamy said he is well aware of Mitchell's bounce-back factor.
"I'm not quite sure how he's handling not playing in Origin II. There's been obviously a lot of talk about that," Bellamy said in Adelaide.
"The only thing I know is he's a wonderful player and he can change a game, click your fingers and he can get over the tryline. He's one of those players.
"I imagine he'll be looking to respond."
While not surprised by the reaction to Mitchell's NSW axing, Bellamy said the criticism of his performance against the Maroons had been over the top.
It was in the first grand final rematch earlier this year when Mitchell set up a crucial try and then nailed a stunning 40-metre field goal in golden point.
"I think everyone is open to that criticism, and it can be very harsh at times and can be very ongoing, to be quite honest," Bellamy said.
"That just seems to be part of our game now as well. I don't think he's deserved the amount of criticism that he's got.
"I remember not so long ago he basically won the game for them down in Melbourne. Some of the things he done that night was incredible.
"I'm sure Latrell will put up his hand and say it wasn't his best game in Origin, but having said that, he's a young player.
"We should encourage him moreso than keep kicking him in the head while he's down. He's one of the players that people want to come along and watch.
"We're all open for criticism, OK, but after that criticism just leave him alone."