Wayne “Junior” Pearce captained the Blues to their first ever clean-sweep victory in 1986, and along with Steve Mortimer, was a huge part in the resurgence of NSW in the mid 1980s.
From 1983-88, Pearce represented NSW on 16 occasions, and his combinations with Balmain teammates – Ben Elias, Steve Roach and Paul Sironen – steered the Blues to success.
After the series win in 1986, the Blues declined, which led to Pearce retiring from representative football, but his capabilities were sorely missed as the Maroons won easily in the first year of his absence.
In 1988, Pearce was the inaugural winner of the Ken Stephens Medal, which is awarded to a Rugby League player for their community service.
He was named in the list of Australia’s 100 Greatest Players in the centenary year of 2008, and continued to share his Rugby League knowledge post-retirement by becoming a Fox Sports commentator for a decade.
His talent clearly wore off on his son - Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce - as he has represented the VB Blues on 15 occasions since debuting in 2009 as a 19-year-old rising star.
Wayne Pearce was a loyal servant to NSW throughout not just his 16 games as a player, but as head coach from 1999-2001, and his commitment to the sky-blue jumper is undeniable.
Farewell one of our greatest Origin captains, Paul Gallen, by being a part of The Star-backed Blatchys Blues for Origin III. Click here to purchase tickets and to secure a seat to witness history. Don’t forget, for all the latest on the VB Blues and State of Origin, download the official NSWRL app and make www.NSWRL.com.au your homepage.