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20 Feb 2018 12:51
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Pearce finds new home at Knights

    Mitchell Pearce says his representative future didn't come into his calculations when he decided to sign with NRL battlers Newcastle.

    - article from

    Mitchell Pearce knows all about being thrown into the deep end and developing a stiff upper lip as a result.

    Pearce on Monday began the second part of his storied NRL career as he began pre-season training with Newcastle.

    The NSW State of Origin playmaker revealed that following his first meeting with coach Nathan Brown, he felt something special brewing in the Hunter and called his dad - Balmain great Wayne - straight away to tell him he wanted to be a part of it.

    After copping three straight wooden spoons, some raised their eyebrows at Pearce's decision to join the competition's battlers, following his departure from the Sydney Roosters.

    But he immediately felt an affinity with the place.

    Such is the state of their roster, a desperate Brown was forced to blood a crop of young talent well before they're ready over the last several seasons.

    And it's a story Pearce knows all too well.

    He was thrown into first grade as a 17-year-old before making his State of Origin debut a year later.

    But he is now at a stage in his career where he wants to be a leader to those carrying a heavy burden at a tender age.

    "They've come in and had to learn the hard way," Pearce said.

    "You naturally build a resilience by doing that.

    "The first thing I noticed when coming into training today was there is a mad buzz around.

    "It's a similar feeling to what I had at the Roosters. There's a family feeling here. And it seems like there's no fear.

    "It's a recipe for success."

    So who better than Pearce to help lead around the likes of Daniel and Jacob Saifiti, 21, Brock Lamb, 20, and Sione Mata'utia, 21.

    Pearce also laughed off Paul Gallen's fears that his move up the M1 will damage his chances of retaining his NSW jumper.

    After Pearce turned down Cronulla and Manly in favour of signing with the three-time current wooden spooners, Sharks skipper Gallen questioned whether his former Origin teammate's game -- and by extension his NSW chances - would take a hit.

    Asked if his Origin prospects had entered his thinking, Pearce said he was primarily motivated by his own well-being but could get back to the pinnacle of rugby league if he got the best out of himself.

    "The main focus of my decision was firstly happiness, a new opportunity and a new challenge," Pearce said.

    "I wanted to come here and be a part of this club and what they're building.

    "All that other stuff takes care of itself, if you're being the best person you can be every day."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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