Pearce backs Carney to bounce back
Mitchell Pearce has backed Todd Carney to put his uninspiring NSW debut behind him and come out firing in next Wednesday’s second State of Origin clash in Sydney.
Carney was far from his best in Melbourne as the Blues went down 18-10 but Pearce said a secret meeting between Blues coach Ricky Stuart and his playmakers Pearce, Carney and Robbie Farah last week can help lay the foundations to prevent a series whitewash in Sydney.
Victory will see the Maroons wrap up a seventh successive series win and Pearce backed 2010 Dally M Medallist Carney to shine.
“I think he said he was pretty nervous, he certainly looked nervous before the game, which I think everyone was so he’ll be a lot better for that,” Pearce said.
“Now he’s going to go out there knowing what to expect. I spoke to him last night and he was saying how he’s looking forward to relaxing in camp and enjoying it and not being so uptight, so I think he’ll be great for us.”
Pearce said the return of Anthony Watmough to the squad following the injury to Tony Williams would be a boost and said continuity around the team is a good thing.
Tim Grant is the only rookie, and Pearce said the experienced Watmough, who has played seven Origins, is a good man to bring in.
“He brings good leg speed off the bench and big Timmy Grant’s been playing good for Penrith,” he said.
“He’s a tough, tough player, he’s pretty straight up and down and he’ll be perfect starting the game I think to get us on the front foot.”
The Sydney Roosters star admitted lessons needed to be learned from game one and Stuart will tinker with the style of attack in game two.
“We definitely played a little bit too sideways … but that’s the beauty of having that game under our belt,” he said.
“The great thing about footy is knowing you’ve got that plan and it’s a matter of going out there on the big stage and trying to do it.”
Farah said the session with Stuart last Thursday at League Central in Sydney, was beneficial and gave the players a head start ahead of meeting up for camp on Monday.
“We looked at areas that we thought we could improve and areas that we did well on,” Farah told AAP.
“We spoke about things we needed to do in this camp. That allows us to come in and hit the ground running.
“Usually it would have take a couple of days to digest the plans.
“But we’ve put game one to bed and now it’s just important to focus on what is going to be a massive occasion next week in Sydney.”© AAP 2013