Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has declared Mitchell Pearce will always be on the radar for State of Origin selection and believes his experience will be a huge factor when it comes to picking the side for Game One.
Pearce has played 18 games for NSW without winning a series but is held in high regard after a NRL career that boasts over 250 games and a premiership.
We're always watching Mitchell. We know what he is about, he is a tough kid.Brad Fittler
Fittler told nswrl.com.au during his Five with Freddy weekly segment that Pearce’s experience in the Origin arena, both on and off the field, is always something to consider.
“He’s been there and done it before and one of the things is (the fact) you always get nervous if you throw rookies in because the week is so intense,” Fittler told NSWRL.com.au.
“(With) the media, the training and the cameras – it is a tough week.
“I know we played with 11 (debutants) last year (in Origin One) but it worked to our advantage because so many came together at the one time.”
While the Knights have struggled to live up to expectations at the start of the 2019 season their 28-14 victory against the Eels will give them plenty of confidence moving forward.
Pearce orchestrated a relentless first-half performance and was named Man of the Match after icing the win with a customary halfback’s try late in the contest.
While he has enjoyed little success at Origin level throughout an era dominated by the Maroons, Fittler knows his tenacity and competitiveness can never be questioned and are qualities he admires.
“We’re always watching Mitchell,” he said.
“We know what he is about, he is a tough kid, and he showed it on the weekend and that was the best thing about it.”