Unwavering determination and 100% commitment are customary traits displayed by Mitchell Pearce.
He’s a leader and a fierce competitor.
A premiership winner with 12 years of experience, the halfback answered an SOS call from Brad Fittler for Origin III after Nathan Cleary (ankle injury) was ruled out.
With an Origin record often scrutinised, the No.7 has unfinished business in the sky blue and eager to show his worth in series decider next Wednesday night.
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“How do I feel? I’m really excited,” Pearce said.
“Grateful and excited. Looking forward to it. Been playing some good footy, been enjoying my footy in Newcastle. Probably that’s the biggest thing, if I could say one thing, I’ve been enjoying my footy and I’ll make sure I’ll enjoy this week and next week’s game.”
Unavailable for selection due to injury for the first two games this year, Pearce has been thrust into the pressure cooker.
Pearce rubbishes Origin hysteria
It’s a situation he’s comfortable in.
Having played in 18 Origin’s for five wins since debuting as a 19-year-old in 2008, Pearce hasn't played since 2017.
Many have criticised his performances in the sky blue over the years.
Ask the man himself about the noise and he’s a realist.
Pearce" 'I've got unfinished business'
Some of it was warranted.
“At times, sometimes I felt like it was glorified as it is sometimes after Origin,” he said.
“Other times I haven’t delivered. Origin is about winning and it’ll about winning next week. If we get the win, I’m sure they’ll will be a nice photo in the paper on Thursday, which will be plenty of positivity, if I lose you know I’m sure I’ll get blame.
“But its part and parcel, I’ve got some unfinished business, I’m looking forward to hopefully doing my job for the team and it would be nice to get that win that’s for sure.”
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Asked if he felt a series win would redefine his Origin career, Pearce was non-committal.
“I’m not too sure,” he said.
“I’m sure the story line will be positive if we win and that will make us all feel good. So, you know there’s plenty of guys with plenty of better records at Origin than I have had, and probably ever will have, but I get an opportunity to win this game next week with the team next week and that’s what I’ll be trying to do.”
Having arrived in camp on Wednesday night, Pearce had his first training run with the team on Thursday.
While the Maroons have also made changes to their team, including the halves, Pearce knows the opposition will be fired up come the ANZ Stadium blockbuster.
“Can’t take anyone lightly,” Pearce said.
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“The biggest thing watching last game, the biggest thought I had after last game was how hard Queensland are going to come back, they always do historically.
“I think it was in the paper the other day or something they said about how, how better prepared Queensland have been in the past in deciders. And they’ve usually gotten results. I’m sure the team’s been talking about that going into this game.
“Corey Norman and Cherry Evans are world class players just like the guys that were there before them. These games are always extremely hard.”