Mini hails Pearce’s Origin defence
Mitchell Pearce’s stinging State of Origin defence has earned praise from Sydney Roosters teammate Anthony Minichiello, who believes the halfback’s performance can inspire his ailing NRL club.
Pearce didn’t train with the Roosters on Friday, but is expected to participate in their final session on Saturday leading into Sunday’s clash with the red-hot Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.
He was a steadying influence on a victorious NSW side on Wednesday and appears to be adjusting to the higher level after struggling in some of his earlier Origin appearances.
However, his kicking game was again criticised despite the 16-12 win to the Blues.
“He’s going great. He played a really good game on Wednesday night – his defence was outstanding,” Roosters’ fullback and recent NSW representative Minichiello said on Friday.
“He was putting shots on like a second rower.
“He’s got a little bit of a cork that he’ll deal with today but he should be right to go for us.”
Minichiello was certain Pearce’s Origin form would have a stimulating effect on a Roosters side who have lost their past four games.
“I know, when you come back from that sort of level, the confidence you can just breathe into the team,” he said.
Minichiello was hoping Tigers captain and hooker Robbie Farah might be feeling fatigued after his monumental 63-tackle performance for the Blues, but said the Roosters weren’t focusing on the talented hooker.
“We did a bit of video, but we haven’t highlighted Robbie at all. We’re concentrating on what we can do and trying to get our combinations right,” Minichiello said.
Braith Anasta will be playing against the club he will join next season, but Minichiello didn’t expect that to be a distraction for the Roosters skipper.
“No, I don’t think so. I think he’s totally thinking about the Roosters and moving on to them (the Tigers) next year, so he’ll be good,” he said.
Roosters stalwart Minichiello said he would love to captain the team after Anasta leaves, but he was more focused on winning some games.
He said the mood among the players was fantastic despite the losing run which has them in fourth-last position and four points out of the top eight.
“It’s quite easy to stay upbeat because we’ve got a lot of young guys in the team. They provide a lot of enthusiasm for us,” Minichiello said.
“I think the last three or four weeks, we’ve been pretty consistent with our football. We’ve just had lapses in defence and concentration throughout the match.”© AAP 2013
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