League: Daley insists Pearce will be NSW halfback

Adam Reynolds of City is congratulated by his team mates after a forty-twenty kick during the Origin match between City and Country. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Reynolds of City is congratulated by his team mates after a forty-twenty kick during the Origin match between City and Country. Photo / Getty Images

NSW coach Laurie Daley has maintained Mitchell Pearce will be the Blues halfback despite Adam Reynolds' fine display in Sunday's City-Country clash in Coffs Harbour.

Reynolds scored a try and produced yet another classy kicking performance on his representative debut for City, despite finishing on the losing side as Country sealed a 18-12 victory.

The South Sydney halfback kicked two 40-20s, produced an outrageous kick into the goalpost pads that almost led to a try, then released Michael Jennings for a 60m run following an audacious short goal-line drop-out kick.

Daley said he was impressed with how Reynolds coped on the big stage in only his second NRL season, but insists Pearce will be wearing the No.7 jersey on June 5 in Sydney.

"Adam was terrific for a young guy," Daley said.

"It was a step up in class. He got better as the game went on and it was good to know he can cope.

"At this stage he continues to develop and he's not been disheartened by the fact Mitch will be the halfback. But he is going well at this stage."

Daley said Reynolds' display has moved him up the pecking order behind Pearce and would be the first option should the Sydney Roosters star be unavailable, but that he should be allowed to keep developing.

"He's confident and you think he is learning all the time. He would be a guy you have to consider," he said.

"It's just good to know in a short space of time he come on. But he did some good things and some poor things.

"He's 22, has a big future but doesn't need the burden yet of being the playmaker for NSW."

James Maloney was solid for Country but said he was unsure if he'd done enough to edge out Todd Carney for the Blues' five-eighth spot.

"I thought a couple of kicks at important times, I didn't put on the mark," Maloney said.

"I thought the ruck was pretty slow to be honest and pretty ragged. It made it into a bit of a slugfest.

"That was pretty disappointing. we didn't get to play the free-flowing game we would've liked.

"I was happy with some things but some other things needed a bit of polish."

Maloney's cause would have been helped by a brilliant try-saving tackle on City's Nathan Peats in the second-half and Country coach Trent Barrett said the Sydney Roosters playmaker had the right temperament for Origin.

"I thought he did well. In the first half he controlled things pretty well and was pushing up around the ruck and taking the line on," Barrett said.

"In the second half he came up with a great try-saving tackle too. He's got the right personality for big games."

Country won the game thanks to tries from Canberra's Josh McCrone and Newcastle pair Akuila Uate and James McManus in front of a disappointing record low crowd of 4,645.

- AAP

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