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The play was called “dumb” by our greatest-ever no.7 - and, in some respects, Mitchell Pearce had to agree.

As the NSW VB Blues appeared to move away from their attacking style of play late in Origin II, Pearce was publicly criticised by Andrew Johns for not taking control of the game. The halfbacks, Pearce revealed, also discussed the issue soon after the team’s 18-16 defeat.

“I spoke to Joey after; there were some points he raised that were very accurate,” Pearce concedes. “There was some dumb footy.

“We lost some control in the second half, so Joey was right in a few areas he raised. He is a passionate NSW fan, like we all are. We’re all passionate people - we don’t like losing.”

With Pearce overtaking Johns as a starting half for the VB Blues  in Game Two, he has more responsibility in the team than ever before. When Rugby League’s eighth immortal offers his advice, therefore, Pearce listens.

“He's the greatest player to pull on this no.7 jersey that we've ever seen,” Pearce adds. “He’s an immortal of the game; he reads the play better than anyone.”

Pearce also sung the praises of VB Blues centre Jarryd Hayne, who has hit strong club form recently after an up-and-down Game Two.

“He's probably been one of NSW's greatest players. It's a big call, but one I'll stick by.”

Pearce also discussed the “disaster” of the 2015 decider and the team’s strong preparation - watch the full interview in the video above.

The NSW VB Blues head to Brisbane for Origin III with the series on the line - and they need your support! Click here to purchase tickets and to show you bleed blue.