NRL: Pearce finding good form for Origin thanks to coach and Maloney

Mitchell Pearce. Photo / Getty Images
Mitchell Pearce. Photo / Getty Images

He's been in the best form of his career, assured of his spot in the NSW side and playing in a red-hot NRL side - life's good for Mitchell Pearce.

Still only 24, Pearce is in his seventh season as the Sydney Roosters halfback and is flourishing under the coaching of Trent Robinson, having signed a lucrative new five-year deal just before the start of the season.

It's all very different to last year when the Roosters were struggling and his spot in the Blues side was far from certain as ex-coach Ricky Stuart looked to find a way to end Queensland's seven-year State of Origin stranglehold.

Pearce did get the nod and was solid without being spectacular as the Maroons prevailed yet again 2-1, thanks to a last-gasp Cooper Cronk field goal in game three at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

His return to the Roosters after that heartbreak in Brisbane saw him walk straight into a bust-up with former coach Brian Smith as the pair's already fractious relationship disintegrated - leading to speculation he wouldn't re-sign with the Roosters.

But after missing the finals for a second successive season, Smith paid the price and was sacked by Roosters chairman Nick Politis with former assistant coach Robinson given the job.

With the Roosters sitting in second spot, Pearce said his confidence is high and is thriving under the studious Robinson.

He also said the decision of Blues coach Laurie Daley to say from the outset that he would be the halfback has also been a huge weight off his mind.

"At first when he said it I took it with a grain of salt," Pearce said.

"It's a long time before game one and anything can happen with injury or loss of form.

"But I think I am going as well as any of the other halves. His long-time manager Mike Newton credits Pearce's good form with a more settled life off the field, in addition to the return of Robinson to the club.

"He's learned to balance what works for him on and off the field, coupled with Trent Robinson," Newton said.

"He's given him confidence and provided him with simple structures.

"Each player knows their role and it is obviously working very well and they're singing from the same hymn sheet."

Newton also believes the arrival of James Maloney from the Warriors at five-eighth has been a boost to his game.

"Jimmy Maloney has also been good for Mitch," he said. "He's a running six and that allows him to guide the team around the park and at the moment it is all working out well."


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