SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Mitchell Pearce of the Blues runs the ball during game three of the ARL State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on July 17, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

New South Wales are set to name Newcastle’s Mitchell Pearce for Origin II, paring him with Nathan Cleary in the halves, according to Fox Sports.

Cleary has come under scrutiny to hold his place in the side as the Blues look to even the series, but he will be named in the No. 6 jersey.

Additionally, the retention of the Panthers youngster means the goal-kicking duties don’t have to be shifted to Latrell Mitchell.

It is understood that Pearce will come in to defend on the left edge in place of Cody Walker, while Cleary will stay on the right edge.

Another player who was touted to be paired with Pearce was Jack Wighton, but the Raiders five-eighth will reportedly hold his place in the side on the interchange.

The Pearce-Cleary pairing is still reliant on the duo getting through round 14 healthy, with injuries proving to be a major obstacle in the Blues camp in the lead up to the series.


  1. It should be Pearce and Maloney. They win a premiership together, both know each other’s game. Both can run the ball and kick the ball and take control. Maloney would be the goal kicker. Maloney actually has looked really good the last two games. Cleary is the future but not the current. As for the bench utility, I’d scrap it and go for 4 forwards.
    8. Trbojevic
    9. Cook
    10. Vaughan
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizzell
    13. Murray

    14. Matterson
    15. Haas
    16. Finucane
    17. Crichton

    Off the bench you want impact, size and speed. Matterson not only covers halves and backs if needed but is tall and powerful and would make meters. Finucane is just so reliable and through the middle of the game will work as hard as anyone to make tackle after tackle and get metres. Haas brings size and speed, Crichton wasn’t great in game 1 but he did make a lot of tackles and if injury hits a second rower he will be needed.

  2. I don’t agree that Cleary is even the future at halfback.
    He came up through the juniors playing 5/8th.
    When Maloney is gone from Penrith, Luai should be their halfback & Cleary the 5/8th there.
    Cleary hasn’t shown anything that shows that he commands the leadership at club level. Hasn’t done anything in attack at SOO level either.
    Peter Stirling said the same thing . He’s not a halfback.

  3. For now I’d pick Pearce and Maloney but fi fit I would’ve had Keary over Maloney, but Maloney is definitely deserving and able. As far as the future of NSW I think it’s Cleary and the likes of Mitch Moses, Luke Brooks, Kyle Flanagan. I think both Moses and. Rooms at their respective clubs need help to push their claims by surrounding them with other good players. The eels need a forward or two and the tigers need a small clean out and refresh. Flanagan looks to be the best of the lot IMO. He is strong running the ball and kicking the ball. He’s not a weak link on defence or ill disaplined. If he gets his move to the Roosters he will be set with Keary and a strong pack and thrive

  4. Unfortunately for the Giblets, Keary will be hard to offload now and probably will retire shortly.

  5. Maybe, but Walker from the 30,000 members, 21 Premiership, only Juniors in the Eastern Suburbs Rabbitohs had the Blues scoring points when he was on and the Blues lost the game when he went off. Fact.

  6. I’m surprised you haven’t nominated Crouton as captain for the Blues LOL.
    It was you and Woody who also insisted Stitch Aubusson was a must for the Blues . Priceless.

Comments are closed.