BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Mitchell Pearce of the Blues looks dejected after a Maroons try during game three of the State Of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 12, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The end of an Origin era … for Mitchell Pearce

As tough as this is to say, the New South Wales media called it after Origin 1, this is “the end of an Origin era”.

Unfortunately for fans south of the Tweed, that era was not the era of dominance by a champion Maroon side, but the end of an era that should have ended three-or-more years ago, the era of Mitchell Pearce as New South Wales halfback.

Before the six or so people who still support his selection in an arena he has now failed in for seemingly the twenty-fifth time, I am not placing the series loss squarely on the shoulders of the Roosters halfback, but as the halfback, he is the man who must accept responsibility.

The side was picked around him. This was publicly stated by Laurie Daley and co. Robbie Farah was overlooked due to his calling the shots over the halfback in the past. Evidently, Paul Gallen, who for the record is still the only man to lead NSW to victory in the past decade, was holding Pearce back.

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Last night, neither Farah nor Gallen were there to “stifle” the No. 7. He was the man running the show. The man with the weight of an entire state on his shoulders.

He didn’t deliver.

Nothing against Pearce, I’ve met him a handful of times and I couldn’t speak highly enough of the guy. He’s had his problems off the field, but in my experiences, he’s been nothing but friendly, warm and welcoming.

But as an Origin footballer, he has had more chances than anyone else in the history of the game and has come up short at EVERY opportunity.

For the record, there are more than a few players who should follow him out of the Origin arena, but this was certainly the last chance for a man who has succeeded at club level for many years, yet has never been able to make the jump.

Once again, Pearce is not the only player who didn’t lift with the series on the line, but this side was built around him. This was his side. HIS SIDE.

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A side which, if not for a series of mistakes, would have been 30-nil down at half time.

A side whose only try came via a James Maloney kick.

A side who was dominated for field possession due to a horror kicking game. Honestly, I cannot remember Pearce finding space on one kick.

The obvious question will be “if not Pearce, then who?”

The obvious answer is now LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE!!!

Matt Moylan, Nathan Cleary, Adam Reynolds, Chad Townsend, me!?

There were plenty of differences between the sides last night, but the most pronounced difference was that in class between the halfbacks.

Cooper Cronk was in everything, Pearce was not.

Cameron Munster outplayed him, on debut, in the so-called “biggest Origin game of all time”.

Mitch, time to bow out, and take those responsible for your selection with you.


  1. How many kicks from Woof-Woof found the grass?

    Not even reserve grade standard.
    Not even U 20s standard.

  2. Fact: The only series won by NSW in a Daley era was a series Pierce was not in.

    The blokes kicking game was not even to reserve grade standard. How many series are we going to put up with this guy . Munster outplayed him in his first game. The blokes got no clue when it comes to origin. Daley has no clue as a coach. Are we saying NSW have no centres so we pick 2 fulllbacks in the centres halves that have been there and failed every time.

    Pierce needs his origin card stamped the same way DCE seems to have his one stamped. “NEVER TO PLAY AN ORUIGIN AGAIN” Absolutely overrated. No heart and makes dumb decisions

    • Pearce lack of ability at state level is one thing, but his heart shouldn’t be in question. He turned up a few times in defence when no one else did or wanted to. I don’t like Pearce either, but they are right in saying, who else is there?????
      No half is doing much on the effort of those forwards last night. Fifita can’t start anymore, they are to fresh and ready for him. Need to sack all the outside backs. Nsw has way better young backs coming through, lets use them. Turbo tom, Dylan walker, josh mansour, jack bird, jarrod Crocker, the list goes on… start picking guys in position. Also peats tries hard, but no rinningnor kicking game at all… might be biased, but would be hard to find a better hooker in nsw the API korisau these days…

      • The problem is that other NSW players will stand up to be picked, but wont even get a look in, in favor of the ‘star’ players. Look at Crocker from Canberra, been one of the best centers in the game in attack and defense and can kick goals yet constantly overlooked.

        Yet QLD choose Ben Hunt after being dropped to reserve grade not long ago and overlooked the form half in the comp AND dropped under-performing ‘stars’ like Myles and Thiaday.
        They get it.

        and which ever ‘experts’ said that QLD were lacking origin depth compared to NSW need to be shot.

  3. Why is all the hatred directed at Pearce. Maloney was worse, yet he seems Teflon coated. Pearce may not have much ability but he at least tries, Maloney is just a cat.

  4. No heart actually is right. It’s like Joey said
    “They just don’t get it” Not turning up for each other. At the start of the series everyone said this is Pierce’s team.
    Got rid of Robbie and now Pierce will demand the ball.
    Origin 2 he went missing,
    Origin 3 he did nothing….. oh wait that’s right eh ran out of the line causing a huge gap in which QLD scored…. oh and his kicking game….

    After last night Mbye has a better kicking game than Pierce and that’s saying something LOL

  5. The kicking game was atrocious – stats show that he didn’t find the grass or or in-goal at all last night. When the opposition have players like Slater, Gagai and Holmes who get the ball on the full and know how to run it back hard, you are going to fail.
    Couple that with balls being dropped (fafita, ferguson, et al) , front rowers (fafita and woods) too slow and lazy to close gaps (that last Qld try in particular) doesn’t help.
    As good as they are Graham and Maloney make dumb decisions to often and end up giving away penalties in the opp half.
    Ferguson got found out in D too many times.
    Morris and Teddy held their own. Hayne and Dugan attempted to lift things in the 2nd half. Hayne did put in a big effort in that middle part of the 2nd half in defence in an attempt to lift the team.
    Frizell, Cordner and Jackson were good..the rest didn’t live up to Game 1 heroics.
    Time for Cleary, Vaughan, Mansour and, dare I say it, N Brown to come into the mix.
    Definitely (at least) out with Fergo, Pearce and Woods for mine.

  6. This is NSW problem, after Game 1 everyone was applauding the whole team, talks of a new dynasty and all that garbage. Everyone was saying Fifita was the new wrecking ball, Peats added a new aspect to NSW attack, Pearce was a new man, and so on and so forth.

    Fast forward to end of Game 3 and every NSW supporter is calling for the head of half the team. That’s not how you do it. First of all they need to find some passion, I saw no passion whatsoever last night from NSW. Maybe a talk from some NSW old heads will fire them up a little.
    They also need to form a leadership group which will get the job done. A group where, when the are two tries down with 10 to go, will roll up the sleeves and say follow me boys let’s do this.
    Woods and Morris need to go, should be replaced with Ryan James and Josh Mansour. Pearce still has it in him, and I believe he can get the job done, but he needs a leadership group which can support him.

    • You are right,
      Fifita is a wreaking ball, occasionally.
      Peats added a new aspect in attack, because it was different to Robbie Farrah.
      Never heard anyone say Pearce was a new man. Pearce was supposed to be the leader of the team. The team was build around him for him to control.
      Everyone who backs him wants Pearce to be a leader, but he just cant lead at origin level and they just cant see it, or don’t want to see it. time to move on from Pearce.

      One thing that came to mind is at club level NSW players can be unstoppable on their best day, but can still have bad/average games in them.
      QLD players can be great on their best day at club level. Then they lift up a level from there when it comes to Origin.

      • Don’t quote me word for word, but I believe it was Andrew Johns who maintained Pearce was a new man in channel Nine’s postgame show after Game 1. Andrew Johns said Pearce was thrown into the origin arena too young, and he has had his issues in the past. However Johns went on to say that he is now a totally different player and is probably entering the prime of his career.

        I just think back to game 2. That’s when the Blues lost it. They had their foots on our throats but they decided to let us back into the game. That’s when Pearce and Maloney should have taken charge and won the game. Unfortunately for Pearce, he has lost that many times from winnable positions that he plain and simply chokes. His confidence is shot.

  7. I think this will probably go over a few heads, here, but, this situation is exactly the same situation as the English soccer team and their similar crumbling at the representative level. The problem is not solely with the players or the coaches. The problem is with every aspect of it. It seeps into every pore of how nsw ultimately play. I am english and it was a massive culture shock to come to qld to live when I was 10. There is huge optimism in qld that is almost unbreakable. It trickles down to tge mindset of the players. Qld press do not hang players out to dry, like the vicious nsw press. Tim glasby let in two tries in the second game and there was barely a mention. There is fear of failure, just a desire to win. That freedom to give it a go is what makes qld resilient. There is a constant coldness about the nsw team that is the product of far higher pressure, a lack of optimism, a lack of camaraderie that is stifled by that lack of belief and fear of failure. Yeah pierce kicked bad, but so do most halves when the forwards arent winning the battle. Every year, we see the same story – Rocky balboa vs the cold, Russian ivan drago. That being said, don’t let me rain on your parade. I enjoy reading nsw journos rip apart the team every year, to put them back to square one. They do it every year and I absolutely couldn’t wait to read it, this morning.

    FYI Maloney is an excellent half with a great running game.

    • Yep the biggest change NSW needs is an attitude change. They played well in game 1 because they were humble and focused on performing as a team. Coming into game 3 though and they were confident and boastful and without the mental toughness and the attitude of playing for you team mates once that bravado gets shook like it did at the start of game 3 then it’s hard to recover.

      I said this in the other thread but when NSW got a penalty they were so focused on “putting pressure” on Qld that they rushed to their kick and there was no discussion or planning or even taking advantage for a breather. Qld on the other hand would have a meeting and make sure everyone was on the same page before kicking. Basically NSW were focused on the opposition to the expense of their own team whereas Qld were focused on their own game and didn’t care if NSW didn’t have to run to set up their defensive line or not.

      Culture is a difficult thing to build and it’s impossible to do it with a rotating door of players and coaches. It wasn’t just Qld that had beat NSW, it was also the players that didn’t trust each other and didn’t show up for each other.

  8. For all these comments above that have elements of truth; lets not forget the most important things, QLD played better, were the better team and have some of the greats of our game currently playing…regardless of age.

    For me, NSW moved away from its strength…the power game up the middle by forwards, wingers at speed behind the ruck and offloads to players in better positions. QLD played that style last night and in reality should have put 40 on NSW.

    We can argue who should and shouldn’t be in the NSW team but after the 1st game of this series there weren’t to many complaints from anyone south of the border. NSW went backwards in tactics and discipline and it cost them badly.

  9. NSW need a complete culture and attitude change, its just poor how they can produce that for a origin decider, Daley is a very good man and was a great nsw player but hes not a coach. He doesn’t have game plans or any of that simple stuff that other coaches have. Get rid of the overrated players, dirty players, grubs bring in youth, respect. Stop picking players in positions theyve never played well in. If you pick players in positions they havent been playing at club level make sure they have played there before and played well. Its really poor from this group of players from this series, Jackson, Trbojevic and Klemmer never let the team down, easily our best. But the rest were underwhelming. Id like to see fittler and johns co coaches, fittler has experience and good game plans and Joey Johns well not many people understand the game more than him.

    NSW 2018

    1 Tedesco
    2 Mansour
    3 Walker
    4 Mitchell
    5 Trbojevic
    6 Moylan
    7 Cleary
    8 Vaughan
    9 Koroisau
    10 Trbojevic
    11 Cordner
    12 Graham
    13 Bird

    14 Peachy
    15 Klemmer
    16 James
    17 Merrin

    All those players should have played this year, all in form. A couple only missed out cause of injury like Tom Trbojevic and Josh Mansour.

    • I’m still not on the Cleary/Moylen bandwagon. They should have put plenty on you guys the other night and couldn’t as those 2 seemed lost attacking the line. Maybe in another 12 months they might be up to it, but I don’t think they are yet. I don’t have an obvious replacement for them, so they may end up being the best available, but I would like to see them aim up in some big games first.

      I don’t think there is much to change in the forwards from last night, other than the front row. Woods makes plenty of metres but has no impact and does nothing to tire the defence, and Fifita should come off the bench if he stays. I think Vaughan will get his chance if he keeps his form up, to start the game with Klemmer/Trbojevic. Back row remains, Cordner was obviously not 100% last night, but the 3 backrowers all played well. That leaves a bench of Graham, Klemmer/Trbojevic and Fifita/James, with De Belin the unlucky one to miss out. I am happy for Peats to stay at hooker, but only if we get more creativity in the halves, and if he runs the ball more. Other wise Api must be close.

      In the backs, Teddy stays, and Mansour and Trbojevic into the wing spots. My centres would be Walker and Bird, with Peachey taking the utility bench spot.

      All this obviously depends on these guys remaining in form and no other players shouting for selection.

      And Daley needs to go, his bench rotation was very ordinary, he didn’t learn from game 1 and 2 that we needed to play up the middle with inside balls and second phase play, and his loyalty gets the better of him. Bring Toovey back, or put Fittler or Johns there, with an experienced coach sitting beside them.

      • I agree 100% regarding the panthers halves, very young still but as you said need to put teams away and pull the team around the park more before they are ready but no top really anyone else.

  10. Everyone happy with Cordner being captain and his game last night? I personally thought it was one of his worst.

  11. Cant beleive Koroisau isnt being talked about. Form hooker of the comp by a long way. Most creative and craft player going, passing selection is all class, knows when to hold up the pass and delay it and has great control through his passing vision. Always runs when there is an opportunity, can duck under tackles with his speed and size and never misses an opportunity. Deadly running game makes him ideal along with his darting speed and footwork. Not many hit harder, every tackle is like being hit by a truck, keeps the ruck tight. Makes a mountain of tackles and can even put in the occassional kick or grubber. Perfect origin hooker for nsw.

  12. 2017 SOO1 Team shld be:
    1. Tedesco
    2. Mansour
    3. Crocker
    4. Hayne
    5. Tommy Turbo
    6. Moylan
    7. Malony/Cleary
    8. Klemmer
    9. Peats
    10. Vaughn
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizell
    13. Jackson


      • Hayne was one of NSW best last night and IMO a true origin player as he didn’t give up like most of his team mates.

        • yep I will accept hayne tried hard… but for the whole series every time qld went right they just ate up free yardage and half the time looked to bust things open. a lot of the tries were scored in fergusons corner but it was after the damage was done on the other side of the field. without morris in game 2 qld win by twenty. morris defending like two men just papered over the cracks. nsw missed 48 tackles in game 1 and it wasn’t addressed. hayne missed 5 in game 2 and 4 in game 3 and that doesn’t include ineffective tackles or defensive misreads or everytime he backed off and they passed before getting to him. haynes handling errors compounded it.

          hayne was in bad club form before the series and was patchy at best during. he was a really uninspired media driven selection and out of position. no where near his career best form which had to be the basis of his selection. qld schooled nsw on this too as they picked hunt when dce looked like the obvious choice. it was a trivial thing last night but they had a plan and executed it.

          as for pearce I genuinely feel sorry for this guy. he cannot be the fall guy for nsw getting bashed in the forwards. his pack let him down terribly and he was dealt a bad hand. imo pearce tried hard and there were plenty of less inspiring players. both pearce and maloney also missed a heap of tackles in games 2 and 3. I won’t accept that pearce was up to it in game one when he was under more pressure and then not up to it in game three.

          but as usual the media use emotion to drive ratings as opposed to framing up anything with some stats or other evidence. pearce may have been average or even bad but if that’s the case there were plenty worse. people hate pearce lets blame him even if he did ok. his kicking game wasn’t great but kicking under pressure all night because your forwards are losing out doesn’t help. slaters positional play was also exceptional. he was one of qlds best injured ankle and all.

          qld were smarter and improved each game, especially defensively. nsw couldn’t adapt to the changing qld side and were outplayed in the end.

          I wouldn’t change much in the nsw side. i’d have bird start in place of hayne and shift dugan to left centre and bring a utility onto the bench. Walker probably as he can play 5/8 so there is cover for every position except hooker. could push hayne onto the wing but i don’t think his club form warranted it. i’d also cut one of the five 80 minute backrowers and replace with an impact forward. I felt that when the two games were there to be won nsw had limited options to change it up and try something different. the backrowers all played well so that would be a tough choice. Maybe Paulo or James come in as short spell running forwards with an offload and some footwork. otherwise Tyson mk II sione matautia just to bend the line. klemmer was good and definitely stays but he is a north/south type player and isn’t going to bust things open. his defence was pivotal in getting nsw back in with a chance but need to compliment that with someone with a bit of ‘x’ in attack on the bench.

          the final change has to be tactics. just serving up the same game plan each game even if its successful in game one is folly. the opposition is going to adapt. game 3 felt like qld had an insider in the nsw training camp. they new exactly what was coming. same team, same plan, same time next year?

  13. James Tedesco
    Josh Mansour
    Cutis Scott
    Latrell Mitchell
    Brett Morris
    Clint Gutherson
    Adam Reynolds
    David Klemmer
    Nathan Peats
    Paul Vaughan
    Boyd Cordner ©
    Tyson Frizell
    Jake Trbojevic
    Tom Trbojevic
    Nathan Brown
    Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    Junior Paulo

        • Id move Trbojevic in instead of morris, Gutho would go to bench because he can play all of the backline and hooker and my 5/8 would be cody walker possibly.

    • I hope Latrell goes to the next level. the kid has talent. one thing for sure is that every week his temperament is getting tested. he cops some serious attention in every tackle with lots of ‘afters’. pretty fun to watch.

      it would be so good if gutho really was the next king wally and just owned origin for the next decade. not even the first choice six at parra or a specialist so it would be a big ask.

  14. As a New South Welshman I applaud the football that the Maroons played last night. Side to side play with huge depth in their line, simply carved up and wiped out the bash and barge, run to the line and die with the ball garbage that the NSW blues served up. It was like watching a team that had everything going for it versus a suppose “team” that had nothing to offer that even looked like being successful.
    A fairer score would have been (at least) 34-6 as the Maroons failed to convert two sitters in Cronk and Glasby. Josh Dugan’s try was a hope and prayer effort at best.
    Laurie Daley must go, he has utterly failed to gel the NSW players into a team.
    Was there one player who did well for the Blues? Selecting players who obviously aren’t fit – like Cordner – is just plain dumb.
    Most of last night’s NSW team should never play Origin again.
    For the last Decade the Queenslanders have fielded a team that features players such Smith, Cronk, Slater who play together every week. Whilst they are way better than their NSW counterparts, it is also a huge advantage that they play together constantly. Last night there were six Melbourne (AKA “South Queensland”) players in their squad and it showed.
    So the Blues record in deciders at Lang Park remains at 2 wins in 23 years.
    Will 2018 be any different?

  15. I thought Adam Reynolds was one of NSW best last year in game 1. He was intense and getting involved in the majority of the game – which is what Pearce lacked throughout this Origin series. Yes, Reynolds has not been in great form this year and Pearce has been one of the best best halfbacks in the comp, but it is evident that Pearce does not perform in the Origin arena. So why we persist on picking Pearce? I do not know.

  16. Thanks Dan another baise article on Pearce what about the other half of the team that also has not shown up NSW as a whole do not put in the same of passion as QLD

    • So do you honestly think based on his Origin performances that Pearce should be there?

      No, he was not the reason that NSW lost the series, and never has been. However, he also has never been able to control an Origin game and command the ball as a half back should. The simple fact is that he has failed at Origin level time and time again and should not be in the team. Only an extremely bias Roosters supporter would not see that.

  17. The sad truth is pearce is under the same curse as James Graeme from the dogs he has been to 6 grand finals 4 in super league and 2 in the nrl and has come up with duck eggs each time
    Pearce is 7 from 7 in failed origin attempts sorry to say but these curses can’t be lifted he is doomed for the rest of his origin career
    Dogs in same boat no premiership with guv on board

  18. Dan – I rarely agree with you, but you are 100% right in this case. Pearce never again to be picked for NSW

    How about writing another article specifically about the coach Daley. He should never couch again also……


    • Geoff Toovey is my first choice coach… all heart and bleeds blue. I would definetly give him a run just for the culture of the team to improve.
      Last night you hardly saw one support runner within contrast to game one… these guys need a belting around the ear lobes. Apart from the obvious ones Woods / Fafita / trot back to the line like they are warming up for a kids soccer match.

  20. Everyone bagging Pearce and his kicking game but name one forward (apart from Klemmer) who actually led the team into an attacking position. oh wait.
    Name one NSW halfback who has led their club to a high position on the NRL table. oh wait.

    I thoroughly understand that the halfback controls the game, but this comment section is just a joke when you consider that no one is complaining about the forwards. Woods and Fifita were jogging the entire match, Cordner barely got the ball in his position, (he was forced to play in the middle at times). Jackson and Pearce were actually there in defence and never gave up.

  21. When will you people ever get it? It doesn’t MATTER who plays halfback. Who was halfback when we last won in 2014? Trent Hodgkinson. What does that tell you? It tells you that it doesn’t matter who wears number 7. We won that year because the team was driven to succeed by 7 or 8 years of failure. They were passionate and wanted it more. That’s all that matters: who wants it most. The team does not have a talent problem. It isn’t a matter of using different players. What matters is that the players who ARE picked are driven to succeed. They must want it! Until we learn that lesson, nothing will change.

  22. Daley is a retard Dugan and Ferguson need to go. Woods is overrated. Jackson and Bird useless Blokes selections suck

    2.Addo Carr/Mansour
    16.J Trobejvic

  23. A lot can change between now and 2018 but I’d go with….

    1) Tedesco
    2) Mansour
    3) Dugan
    4) Walker
    5) Trbojevic
    6) Bird
    7) Cleary

    8) Fafita
    9) Peats
    10) Vaughn/Boyd/Paulo
    11) Cordner
    12) Jackson
    13) Trbojevic

    14) Peachy
    15) Klemmer
    16) Frizell
    17) Graham

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