Wayne Pearce: 'From under 13s onward, he played up an age'
Wayne Pearce was reluctant to have his son follow in his footsteps.
In fact, during Mitchell Pearce's formative years, the Balmain legend tried to push him towards soccer and athletics.
But Mitchell was drawn to the game.
When Wayne finally let his son lace up a pair of boots, it was like a bird taking flight.
"He started playing rugby league at the age of 11. He wanted to play from the age of five (but) I wanted him to try other sports," Wayne explained.
"He was a pretty good player, pretty much from scratch. To the point where, from under 13s onwards, he played up an age. He always played up an age just to get that extra competition.
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"He was sort of a year ahead in school, so his mates were playing a year up in age as well. So, he was used to playing against bigger kids."
So talented, he was signed by the Roosters as a teenager.
He was a standout in the lower grades, so it was just a matter of time before he was called up to make his NRL debut.
"He came into first grade for the Roosters at the age of 17," Wayne recalled.
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"Mitchell had a pretty meteoric rise.
"He came into first grade in 2007. His second year in first grade he was selected for Origin.
"He then went on to chalk up match after match. He was the youngest player ever to play 200 first grade games. That talks to his durability."
With 64 tries to his name, Pearce has already accomplished so much in his young career.
Still only 29, the halfback helped guide the Roosters to the 2013 grand final win over Manly before moving to Newcastle this year.
"Mitchell went way better than me by winning a competition," Wayne said.
"I didn't have that pleasure, but I was so happy for him. It was a great result for the Club and him personally. As a halfback winning a grand final is a really prestigious thing."
Having inked a four-year-deal with the Knights, it's the captain's hope he can replicate his achievements at the Roosters in the hunter and lift a premiership trophy in the red and blue.
"Mitchell came to Newcastle with great anticipation of the Knights winning a competition," Wayne said.
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"He's loving the area, loving the people, loving the Club.
"He has high expectations of a premiership in the next four years.
"He's really excited about the prospects of the Club. This year has shown they're really going places and that's only going to improve next year."