Pearce desperate for another shot

Mitchell Pearce has not given up on reclaiming his NSW jersey, saying: "If you don't strive to get into those teams, you're limiting yourself as a player."

Just a day after Blues coach Laurie Daley revealed Pearce remained a part of his long-term Origin plans, the Roosters halfback has spoken about his desire to add to his 12 appearances for his state.

"I'd love to," Pearce said. "I'm only 25 and would definitely like to get back there down the track. Maybe those boys [incumbent halves Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds] will hold on and be there for 10 years, all you can do is play good footy and see what happens.

"You want to challenge yourself and play footy at the highest level. To be honest, I haven't thought a lot about it since the decision was made, it's not something I put much time into.

"I'm enjoying watching the team and hope they do well and then concentrating on my footy for the Roosters. Going into pre-season I'll set my goals again and see what happens. If you don't strive to get into those teams, you're limiting yourself as a player.

"Whatever comes from that will happen, a lot changes in a year. We'll wait and see what happens."

Pearce was poised to steer the Blues during this year's campaign but an incident involving bar patron Melissa Arroja – dubbed "the girl in the yellow dress" – cost him his spot. In his absence, the Bulldogs halves pairing of Hodkinson and Reynolds helped to engineer NSW's first series win in nine seasons and seemingly cemented their spots in the process.

Pearce, much maligned for failing to unseat the Maroons on his watch, said one aspect of the interstate series he did not miss was the constant speculation over his future.

"There's no doubt, there's a bit of sneaky [scrutiny]," he quipped. "Once I knew I was going to be there, obviously it was a bit weird for the first one," he said.

"There were mixed emotions but I was pretty passionate watching it. I knew I wasn't going to be there, so I wasn't bitter. I actually quite enjoyed watching it, it's different not being a part and having those long, draining three months. It's all been good concentrating on the club, it's all you can do.

"I was happy for the boys, it was great to watch. It takes the pressure off everyone."

While the intense media focus on Origin was one of the reasons champion Manly centre Jamie Lyon retired from representative football, Pearce has no plans to follow suit.

"I don't know Jamie too well but he's a champion bloke and one of the best players I've ever seen," said Pearce, a brand ambassador for PUMA, who kicked off its new global anthem Forever Faster this week.

"For him, that was his decision. But there's no doubt it can get draining sometimes."

Roosters hooker Jake Friend is the favourite to replace Anthony Minichiello as skipper when the veteran fullback retires at the end of the season. However, Pearce will be another candidate coach Trent Robinson will consider.

Asked if captaining the tricolours was an ambition, the 25-year-old said: "I'd love to, but there's still plenty of improvement in all of the leaders who are there.

"Of course it would be very special [if chosen] but it's not something I'm thinking too much about at the moment. I'll take it day by day and it's important for all of us in the leadership group to take the time to learn off Mini and model on him. That's why he's there and we don't want to lose too much when he's gone. He'll leave a big hole."

The Roosters take on the Gold Coast at Allianz Stadium on Monday in what will be John Cartwright's last game before stepping down as Titans coach. Despite yet reproducing their premiership form, the Roosters remain in the top four. Pearce believes this year's version of the Roosters is a superior outfit for their experiences last season.

"It definitely helps," he said. "You look back in 2010 when we lost, until you get that feeling of winning it unlocks the belief system.

"It's definitely a confidence boost going through last year, there's no doubt.

"Going back into these games from this time on, some teams can lose their way if they don't have that confidence. For us, we believe we can do it and that can help you in tight games."

The story Pearce desperate for another shot first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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