Pearce hailed as he earns Origin recall


Mitchell Pearce's outstanding form for Sydney Roosters has been rewarded with a recall to the New South Wales Blues side for next week's State of Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium.

Pearce has received criticism for previous performances in the Origin arena, with his last appearance for the Blues coming in a humiliating 52-6 defeat to Queensland Maroons in game three of the 2015 series.

However, after impressing in the NRL this term, the 28-year-old playmaker has been recalled by Laurie Daley and will partner former Roosters team-mate James Maloney in the halves.

Explaining Pearce's recall, Daley said: "He certainly brings maturity and good game management - and [he's] a guy that's got plenty of ability.

"He's coming into the best form of his career. He's had a number of critics over his career, but he looks to have really come back bigger and better this year. He's playing some exceptional football for the Roosters and we expect him to do the same in Origin I."

There are also returns for Jarryd Hayne and Brett Morris, while the Blues will be captained by Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner.

Gold Coast Titans hooker Nathan Peats and Manly Sea Eagles prop Jake Trbojevic will make their Origin debuts, the latter having been named on the interchange bench.

Daley confirmed key figures Josh Dugan and Aaron Woods will be fit following their respective cheekbone and hamstring injuries.

"Both those guys came into camp very confident about playing," added the Blues coach.

"They'll be there Wednesday week. Obviously Duges, with his cheekbone, has been passed fit and Woodsy got through a game on the weekend, so that's good news for us.

"They've been mainstays of the team over the last couple of years and bring good leadership."


NSW Blues team: James Tedesco, Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan, Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce; Aaron Woods, Nathan Peats, Andrew Fifita, Josh Jackson, Boyd Cordner (captain), Tyson Frizell.

Interchange: David Klemmer, Wade Graham, Jake Trbojevic, Jack Bird.