Mitchell Pearce has played 18 matches in the State of Origin arena.
His last appearance for the blues was 2017. He played all three games and scored two tries.
This year the Knights captain was set to make another comeback for NSW.
He received the call from Brad Fittler Saturday night at Melbourne airport.
But it wasn’t to be. He ruled himself out with injury.
Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown admits it was a devastating call the 30-year-old had to make.
He wouldn’t have been 100 per cent for Sunday’s Origin and he couldn’t let that happen.
“He spoke to Freddy and Pearcey was very excited,” said Brown.
“The reality is, Pearcey understands his game now probably better than any of us.
“His worry yesterday morning was that if he couldn’t train and get enough sessions in that he wouldn’t be able to play how he needed to play.
“More importantly getting his players to run where he needs them to run.”
Pearce plays a very direct game.
Without being able to train every session for the Blues, he felt he wouldn’t be the best man for the job.
It was a big call, but it had to be made.
Brown commended his captain for making the tough decision.
“He rang Freddy and told him,” added Brown.
“If you look at it on face value, he’s given up $60 grand and two Origin jumpers.
“Not too many people would have done that, so you should admire him for doing that in my opinion. It’s a pretty brave decision.
“The last thing Pearcey wants to do is let NSW down and let himself down as well.
“That’s just unfortunate the way it is. If it was a Wednesday Origin he would have been right to go and get plenty of sessions in, but it hasn’t turned out that way.”
Fortunate for the Knights with the week off, Pearce will have time to recuperate before their clash with the Brisbane Broncos.