SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Mitchell Pearce of the Roosters celebrates kicking a field goal to claim golden point victory during the round eight NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Allianz Stadium on April 25, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Newcastle Knights legend Matthew Johns, who was influential in luring Mitchell Pearce, believes that his side has ultimately become a genuine top eight team.

Pearce informed Nathan Brown of his decision, agreeing to a $4 million deal on Thursday morning.

The Knights also ensured to include financial incentives to Pearce around team performance, making it an offer no other club can match.

Pearce, who will join pre-season training on Monday, is touted to go down alongside Andrew and Matthew Johns, as one of the Newcastle’s greats.

“I think Newcastle are about to get Mitchell right when he’s about to play his very best football,” Johns said.

“Everyone was expecting him to turn up at Manly or the Sharks but he’s gone to the club that has come last in the past couple of seasons.

“I can guarantee you they’ll be closer to one than the bottom next year. Even without Mitchell, I looked at the Knights and thought they’d be a mid-table team that might be good enough to snare eighth spot. For me, that would have been an enormous season for the club. For me, with Mitchell now, mate, I definitely see them in the finals.”

A change of scenery – less traffic – away from Sydney’s spotlight – can prove all the difference, and ignite Pearce’s well-publicised career.

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Johns believes the Knights will get the best out of the much-maligned playmaker, who’s had numerous hiccups since his debut in 2007.

“I wanted him to understand what the club was about and just to talk about the town itself and living in the town – there’s a feeling you get when the side starts to win and the important role the team plays in the town,” Johns said.

“My belief in Mitchell, as I said to him, he’s a bloke that has played every single one of his first-grade games at a club that expects to win the competition every year. I know for a fact that when you come up to Newcastle and get the whole feel of the place, I said ‘Mitchell, you will enjoy your football like you’ve never enjoyed it before’.

“That’s important for him because I just think Mitchell is heading into a really good period of his career because he’s done a lot in the game and done a lot but there’s still so much juice left in the tank. I think he’s heading into his prime years. Forget about age, I think Newcastle are about to get Mitchell right when he’s about to play his very best football. It’s a great fit for Mitchell with the support of the whole city. Everyone is going to be behind him.”

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Pearce compliments an incredible recruitment drive, with Kalyn Ponga, Aidan Guerra, Connor Watson and Jacob Lilyman coming on board.

“Ponga was an enormous signing for them because he’s the sort of bloke that I think attracts other players,” Johns said.

“What Kalyn Ponga is about to do in the next 12 months is going to blow people away. The Ponga signing sparked a few other signings like Guerra, Watson and Lilyman. Now to get Mitchell on top of all that going into next year … I was going to say it’s the icing on the cake but it’s more than that. It’s just enormous for the club.

“The beautiful thing about Brock Lamb and Connor Watson is that they are entirely different players. Brock’s a beautiful ballplayer who finesses that ball nicely. Connor is just a pure runner of the football. Those two blokes give Browny options.”

It’s no secret that Newcastle has struggled with halfbacks since the retirement of Andrew Johns. Arguably, the Knights have signed the best halfback in the game since their immortal in Mitchell Pearce.

“The Newcastle Knights, since 1988, have been crying out for a good No.7,” Matthew Johns quipped.

“And at last they’ve got one.”

10 COMMENTS

    • Nuh Brown will be ok.If Pearce plays up Brown will slap him on the nose (aka Saints)and send him to his kennel

  1. Arguably, the Knights have signed the best halfback in the game since their immortal in Mitchell Pearce.
    Really? I doubt it!
    I can think of 10 better than Woof-Woof

    • We have all missed your positive input to lift our spirits Charlie Chuckles.

      So gives us YOUR list of 10 better HB’s on their 2017 form (and remember retired players don’t count!) 😂

    • Like usual,
      Pop up say something stupid and don’t reply to anyone who questions your stupid comments, ol 3 twats

      • crowy, ol 3chooks is just disappointed Pearce has left his new team the Roosters before he had the chance to get an autograph. I’m only worried 3chooks will “do a Grant Jones” and try to get Angus Crichton to follow him to his new club out of spite.

        After all, the Roosters need to leave SOME talent for the rest of the teams in the NRL if they are going to poach our juniors as well. For appearance sake at least. Wouldn’t you agree “Rooster boy” (aka 3chooks)?

  2. And at who’s expense will they make the 8??? Improve they will for certain but making the 8 I think is beyond them

    • “Improve they will” but make the 8? Uncertain it is.” SO close to a great yoda impersonation. Just sh!ts and giggles mate, just sh!ts and giggles. There hasn’t been anything funny on this story since….
      3hats’s post! 😉

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