SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 21: Mitchell Pearce of the Blues and Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons react during game two of the State Of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on June 21, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Johnathan Thurston has taken a dig at Mitchell Pearce, claiming the former Roosters halfback is giving up a priceless opportunity to transition into ‘a big game player’ from new recruit Cooper Cronk.

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.

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“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.


  1. How could he learn from Cronk – sit on the bench and take notes? He would need to be on the field to learn from Cronk and that is the problem Pearce faced. What position would he play?

    • 100 % Agree Chalky. Just another cheap shot.

      It is amazing how all these grubs become ‘great guys’ as they get to the end of their careers. Hodges & Thurston are the first two that come to mind.

      • If Donkey and Pearce grew up in each other’s shoes then this entire conversation would be reversed. There definitely isn’t a roaring gap in talent.

        Jt is quick to forget that they all play in a team of future immortals. Smith, Slater, GI … Some of the best to ever lace a boot. Probably a once in a lifetime combination of quality players.

        Donkey has done well off the back of the Qld and Storm success but he isn’t by any means the greatest half back to play the game.

        Will be interesting to see the Donkey outside of the Storm team and without Smiths captaincy, Bellamy’s coaching and Slater/Munsters flair.

        2018 sure is going to be an interesting year of footy.

        • People forget that Cronk is in fact that good when the rep sides are picked Thurson gets shafted to 5/8. So he knows first hand what he is talking about when it comes to advise towards Pearce. Cronk will excel at the Roosters with just as much flair if not better flair than those Storm players. Mitchell, Tedesco, Ferguson, Topou flying through the air with Cronks accurate kicks, Keary etc.etc.etc. Pearce could of been a ball playing lock but PRIDE is a hard thing to handle. Hence his departure. Yes Thurston was having a cheap shot hidden behind a fact. Pearce as a second 5/8 or ball playing lock could of seen the master in action first hand for two years and then put his lessons into practice after Cronks retirement.

        • Fair call Woodchook.
          I’m not saying it won’t work. Just interested to see how he goes without his immortal team mates.

          Don’t think Pearce was given the option to be a ball playing lock. When Robo said publicly he would be a super sub I think that left Pearce with no choice.

          As I said, interesting year ahead. Lots of changes…

      • Interesting Batman , donkey ? I take it your referencing Cronk , mmmm if he’s a donkey then what would you call Uate ? A seal ? Penguin? Mmm nah he’s a hack !!!

        • I just realised, “Captain Jack Sparrow” has deftly “acquired” my nickname for IDG “DONKEY”. Oi, give it back Captain Jack!

          SSTID_1970 November 21, 2016 at 10:46 pm
          IDG can tackle… but he moves like a donkey tethered to a donkey mill! (“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” anyone?). Slow and round in circles! Maybe he needs the red hot poker too to get him going!

          SSTID_1970 November 22, 2016 at 7:49 am
          And give IDG a carrot and a hot poker! 😉

          SSTID_1970 November 22, 2016 at 8:02 am
          …they need a carrot and a red hot poker. The old “carrot and the stick” ploy. It’s all you can do with donkeys I’m afraid. 😉

        • I don’t get it , he refers to Cronk as a donkey yet glories Uate who looks like a donkey under the high ball , serious now capes one , I know your reading , tell us was the experiment a success? The only decent thing he did all year was score a “fake try” so as we didn’t have to live with the embarrassment of going down to not only the bulldogs but also the knights , money well spent

      • May I also add , Donkey did have smith and slater you correct , however so did DCE during Origin but your love child couldn’t achieve what a one armed donkey could, I don’t understand why you would call him after a stupid animal , it’s quite shallow and it’s easy throwing stones at others when you should throw them at some of your own ,

        • @ MW47

          I thought you were going to say; “it’s easy throwing stones at others when you hide behind a mask!”

          Be careful there Hugo A-Go-Go, Batfink knows Karate! 🦇🤜💥

          Bahahahahahaha 😂😂😂

        • Karate is Batfink’s sidekick! Like Batman and Robin… did anyone pass the auditions btw?
          Come on mate, we are from the same generation you have to remember this? It kind of kills a joke to have to explain the punchline. Work with me here mate. 🙁

      • It got JT punted from the Dogs. Turvey didn’t elaborate at the time but it was clear the door was closed.

        WoodChook, JT is moved for Cronk not because Cronk is superior but because JT is more versatile than Cronk. Cronk is good for the one role he can play whereas JT has more strings in his bow. As great as Cronk is JT is clearly the better player and the one more able to adapt. When I think of players who could play as a loose forward or (ball playing lock) I think of Robbie Farah, Wade Graham, Elijah Taylor I don’t think of Mitchell Pearce. Pearce belongs in the halves (possibly he could do well at hooker, just like DCE 😉 ) but at lock? No, no, no, no, no, no! Square peg round hole WoodChook, even a kindergartener knows THAT doesn’t work. 😉

  2. By the same logic Thurston should have gone to the Knights to learn under RL immortal Andrew Johns. Typical “let QLDers teach you how to play the game” mentality. As chalky says, he won’t learn much playing from the bench or NSW Cup. Had Pearce been partnered with Cronk perhaps but Keary is now the “Golden haired boy” and poor Pearce is yesterdays newspaper used for wrapping at Uncle Nicks fish & chip shop.

    I agree with Toovey that Pearce would have the most influence going to Newcastle but his game would improve most (as MW47 says) if he went to the Storm. Either way it sounds harsh and condescending when comparing JT’s statement to the more diplomatic words of Toovey (is that an oxymoron, Toovey and diplomacy?)

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