Although he describes the signing of his good friend Cooper Cronk to Bondi as ‘harsh’ towards Pearce, he insists that Pearce is sacrificing a golden chance to complete his skill set.
Thurston was questioned whether he felt for his Origin rival, replying: ‘yes and no’.
“Being the chief playmaker there for the amount of time that he has been, it’s a little bit harsh.
“But then again, he’s only 28 years of age. I think he could learn a lot off Cooper from the two years that Cooper is there.
“He could win another two or three premierships after Cooper’s gone or even while Cooper’s there.”
Thurston unleashed a well-publicised sledge towards Pearce, after Queensland’s thumping over the Blues after game 3 in 2015. He exclaimed that the closest that Pearce would ever get to the shield would be by standing next to Wally Lewis’s statue outside Lang Park.
“Cooper’s a big game player, knows how to get the job done,” he said.
“I think that’s what Mitch has probably lacked over his career — how to close out big games.
“He could have learned a lot off Cooper but he thinks he’s best elsewhere.”
Although Roosters captain Boyd Cordner was disappointed to see his long-time teammate walk out the door, he completely understands and respects his decision.
“I thought that he might’ve stayed,” Cordner said.
“But it wasn’t to be and I can understand and respect his decision.
“Although it’s sad to see Pearcey go, we’re super happy to have Cooper Cronk coming to the Roosters.”
Cordner approached Pearce in Kangaroo’s camp, convincing him that he was not to blame for Pearce’s departure. The premiership-winning halfback admitted he felt awkward about the long-time Rooster’s exit.
“It’s only natural for him to feel like that, coming to a new club and this happened. But I just reassured him that we’re so happy that he’s coming to the Roosters,” Cordner said.