Pearce documentary: Advice from SBW and inside the coach’s box

Three days after Mitchell Pearce tore his pectoral muscle, the camera started recording.

This is 14 weeks in the making and a rare look beyond the field as we document the Captain's return.

Press play on the video below to watch his journey and then continue reading for his tale.


PROJECT PEARCE

After tearing his pectoral muscle late in the Knights' Round 7 win over the Wests Tigers, Mitchell Pearce grabbed his phone and called his girlfriend Zoe, followed by his parents.

They'd thought he'd come from the field with a head knock.

Instead of a concussion test, he was faced with a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

Once the reality of his injury had set in, he made three more calls.

All to former Roosters teammates.

Pearce had torn his pectoral muscle while attempting to make a tackle.

At the time, Tricolours winger Daniel Tupou was mid-way through his rehabilitation for the same injury.

Picking Tupou's brain proved insightful and he also spoke to Boyd Cordner and Sonny Bill Williams.

The duo had successfully returned from pec injuries and Pearce was eager to learn.

"The boys all spoke about the first month and not doing much at all," Pearce told newcastleknights.com.au

"They were big on diet and spoke on diet. Some extra massage and treatment whenever you can get it, just to heal the scar tissue and loosen the muscles around the injury; that way when you get back into weights you can sometimes fast-track your recovery.


"There are no real miracles with it."

It was April 21 when Pearce tore the muscle. The season was young.

The road to recovery was lengthy and a cruel blow for player and club.

The Knights had already lost Tautau Moga for the season to an ACL injury.

"My injury is small in the scheme of things," he said.


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"I have a teammate in Tau who is struggling with an ACL and other guys who have career-threatening injuries. It's part of sport. You get around your teammates and support them.

"For someone like myself who hasn't had too many injuries, you can sometimes forget about others in rehab. As a positive for me as a leader, I have mates in the physio room with me. We can help each other with the head noise.

"Some guys spend their whole careers in there."

Three and a half weeks after having surgery in Sydney, Pearce was cleared to return to training.

Painful sessions on the physio table as the scar tissue in his pec was massaged out were a daily occurrence.


The field sessions were brutal, too.

Unable to do contact, Pearce was putting the kilometres through his legs in the blistering heat as his teammates ran around with the ball in hand.

It wasn't until he hit the seven-week mark that he could start passing the ball again.

For the football staff, keeping Pearce from pushing his limits was a challenge in itself.

"Pearcey is one of those guys, when you ask him to do something, he'll do it too often," Physical performance manager Tony Ayoub said.

"We got out of the sling a week early. Doctor Perko has been brilliant with allowing us to do things a little bit early. He's really happy with his (Pearce's) progress.

"He's in the cardio room and he's leaning. He's not meant to lean on it. He doesn't have the strength but to see how comfortable he is, has me comfortable."

Every player copes with injuries differently.

Some become recluses but for the halfback, he couldn't stay away from the team.

While he couldn't contribute to the results with his actions, Nathan Brown leaned on Pearce to help the team with his words.


The skipper became part of the coaching staff's planning sessions and joined Brown in the coach's box.

It was not only an opportunity for Pearce to gain an appreciation for Brown's job but to learn about his teammates from afar.

"I've been lucky enough to be in the coach's box," Pearce said.

"I've learned heaps from watching the games from the sideline. As a halfback I've been watching the game from a different perspective.

"I've learnt a lot from being up there and hopefully that can improve my game when I get back."

Now cleared to return to the field, the No.7 is expected to be named in the team to face Parramatta this Friday.

After a lengthy stint away from the game, Pearce is eager to get back onto the field.

"I'm pumped to get back out there and run around with the boys," he said.