He is the best halfback in the land but he shouldn't be picked for NSW in their must-win clash against Queensland in Game II, that is according to former Blue Brett Finch.

Mitchell Pearce is arguably the best player in the NRL at the moment and was personally contacted by Andrew Johns on the weekend to gauge interest in a return to the NSW squad.

The 30-year-old is currently leading the Dally M count on the back of six man of the match performances, yet has not played for his state since 2017.

Finch acknowledged that on current form Pearce is the best halfback in the country, but should not be rushed into the team to replace Nathan Cleary because it will continue the trend of NSW blaming the halfback for their defeats.

“It just goes around in circles. I’ve been there as a half, I was there at the start of (the Queensland dynasty) back in 2006 and the nature of it is the halves take responsibility, it’s their fault all the time,” Finch said on Fox Sports.

“There’s so many other areas ... we had some errors in the second half. To think we’re going to put a new bloke in the No.7 and that’s going to win the game is just crazy.

“Year after year it’s always the same conversation, it’s around the halfback.”

Finch wants NSW to stick with Cleary and Cody Walker in the halves for their crucial match in Perth on June 23.


  1. As a QLD I’m very happy to see Cleary and Walker line up again. Particularly like the idea of having Wighton come on to replace walker after 60 minutes. Im really glad all these former players are chipping in cause it just puts more pressure on the team to win. With Keary ruled out, Personally I would hate to see Pearce and Maloney in the halves. Pearce (the best halfback) and Maloney (the best five-eight other than JT over the past 5 years). The two have played together at the Roosters where they won the comp, both players have experience and know how to win games and make good decisions. Both players can run the ball and kick the ball which is very important. If you want to win you go with these two but will they…. NO and for that I am thankful

  2. The love for Cleary is sickening….have a look at his stats for the 4 SOO games….zero try’s, zero try assists, zero forced line dropouts…….zero effectiveness

  3. As much as I hate to admit it, Russ is correct, so I am not sure what you are laughing at. Pearce’s form is miles ahead of Cleary’s, nobody can deny that.

    Cleary is still young and has time, but he isn’t Origin standard yet. His short kicking game was non existent in Game 1 and he was unable to put NSW in a position to score points, similar to what has been happening at Penrith.

    I honestly think he was brought in too young and should have been given more time to develop his game, but hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it. The danger now is, will he recover from being dropped if that is the direction they take? But, if they keep him and lose the series, will all of the pressure that comes with that get to him.

    At the end of the day he still hasn’t reached the heights that many intended and his potential still far outweighs his actual performances. But he has youth on his side, so he can still improve, it will just be interesting to see what being picked at such a young age does to his development.

  4. Maloney and C.Walker. Jimmy is the type of person who can take control of the team in the big moments, he has that winning mentality, that competitiveness. Cleary doesn’t seem to have that (yet).

  5. I sometimes wonder if a lot of Pearce’s SOO issues revolved around Gallen over calling him all the time. It can be very difficult for a young half when the Captain does that then just sticks the ball under his arm and gets tackled. I think he is ready – As a Queenslander I just hope they stick with Cleary.

  6. Yeah I wonder the same thing. The only concern I have with picking Pearce is the scars from those previous performances and the pressure he will be under considering if NSW lose, the blame will be placed on him right or wrong.

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