Dan Walsh, Staff Writer
Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce wants a crack at the City Origin No.7 jumper despite speculation NSW coach Laurie Daley will rest the premiership winner to ensure next week's City-Country clash is a genuine Origin trial.
With Pearce, Newcastle utility Kurt Gidley and injured Tigers captain Robbie Farah considered certainties for the series opener on May 28; Daley is expected to rest the trio for the game at Apex Park in Dubbo on May 4, giving Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds and in-form Bulldog Trent Hodkinson a chance to push for higher honours in the City jersey.
But speaking to the media on Monday, Pearce said he had "no idea" of Daley's plans and that he would relish the opportunity to join the Brad Fittler-coached City side as they look to atone for last year's 18-12 defeat in Coffs Harbour.
"I'd love to play if I get picked," said Pearce, who last represented City in 2012 and turned in a commanding performance that locked him in as NSW halfback.
"It's an awesome week. I love spending time with Freddie and it's great getting into teams like that with all the boys from other teams.
"Just being in that rep environment's always a great buzz and you appreciate every opportunity you get."
The Roosters halfback, who has laid on five tries for his teammates and 11 line-break assists this year, has adopted a new approach to the upcoming interstate series as NSW look to end Queensland's record run of eight consecutive series wins.
"Honestly I haven't put any thought into it," said Pearce, whose Origin record of just three wins from 12 starts has been a source of constant criticism since he has held the NSW halfback role over the past three series defeats.
"I've noticed the last couple of years I've probably done my head in at times over that stuff.
"Not just for Origin but even in first grade, if you over-analyse things it can do your head in.
"For me that's something I've tried to take out of it; just trying not to over-analyse things."
While Pearce is hopeful of getting some game time during the Representative Round which follows next Anzac weekend's round of NRL matches, he was also happy to anoint teammate Boyd Cordner to retain the Kangaroos jersey he wore twice at last year's World Cup when Australia take on New Zealand at Allianz Stadium next Friday.
"He's unbelievable," Pearce said of the damaging second-rower who has been among the Roosters' best despite their inconsistent start to the year.
"He's a pretty humble guy Boyd, but all the boys are geeing him up about it, and it's from the heart, we really believe he should be in that side and the way he's played all year and last year.
"He's pretty much one of the out-and-out leaders in the club.
"Everyone looks up to him and he's just got that aura about him.
"For a young guy who's only 21 and he's played Origin, Australia and won a grand final and hopefully he gets picked next week."