Wallace v Pearce: Origin selection battle?
Forgotten Broncos halfback Peter Wallace says there is no better time to lead his side back to the winner’s circle than against fellow NSW State of Origin contender Mitchell Pearce this Friday but insists an Origin recall is the furthest thing from his mind.<br><br>Wallace was dumped from the Blues squad for the final game of last year’s series with NSW having already lost their fourth series in a row and facing their first whitewash in 14 years.<br><br>His replacement, Brett Kimmorley, and Pearce have since been touted as the most likely options to wear the no.7 in 2010, with Wallace barely rating a mention.<br><br>The Brisbane playmaker told NRL.com he was shattered by his sudden demotion last season but was focused more on helping the Broncos hit back after consecutive losses than impressing NSW selectors.<br><br>“I’m not even worried about Origin,” he said. “I mean, I’m shattered that I didn’t finish the series last year but that’s in the past. <br><br>“I’ve just got to go out and play good footy now but to be honest it’s the furthest thing from my mind.”<br><br>Asked if he felt like a forgotten man, Wallace said: “No, not really. It’s actually good being up here out of all the attention.<br><br>“Obviously it’s everyone’s goal to play Origin and that hasn’t changed for me, but they cross off a lot of people every year so what’s done is done.”<br><br>Wallace said he was treating this week’s clash with Pearce and the Roosters as a personal challenge rather than an early Origin trial.<br><br>Frustrated by a serious ankle injury that ended his 2009 finals campaign early and limited his pre-season preparations, the 24-year-old admitted his form needed to improve following the team’s consecutive losses to Canberra and the Warriors.<br><br>“Whenever you play against the other good halfbacks in the comp it’s just a good challenge,” he said. “You want to play against the best and Mitchell is definitely up there with the top halfbacks in the comp so it’s a good opportunity for me.<br><br>“I had a limited pre-season so I didn’t expect to be fully ready at the start of the year.<br><br>“I felt pretty good the first round but the past two weeks we’ve been pretty much flogged so it’s been disappointing.<br><br>“Hopefully that will turn around this week.”<br><br>Friday’s clash looms as a huge game for the Broncos, who are coming off a 48-16 thrashing at the hands of the Warriors and facing an injury crisis with Israel Folau and Denan Kemp joining an already-lengthy casualty ward.<br><br>They will also face a Roosters side reeling from a 60-14 thrashing at the hands of the Bulldogs last Sunday.<br><br>Wallace said the Broncos could ill-afford to lose three in a row so early in the season but insisted talk the club would struggle to make the finals this year was premature.<br><br>“We’re only three weeks into the season,” he reasoned. “Everyone here knows they’ve got the ability to do it, we’ve just got to have the right attitude going into the game and take that onto the field.<br><br>“There is no doubt the injuries we’ve got have disrupted us but you can’t use that as an excuse to leak 48 points.”<br><br>Wallace said the loss of Karmichael Hunt, Tonie Carroll and Dave Taylor as well as injuries to Justin Hodges, Corey Parker, Jharal Yow Yeh, Kemp and Folau had added to his own responsibilities in 2010.<br><br>“I’m still only 24 but it’s a very young team so I suppose I’m a bit of a senior member now,” he said.<br><br>“I try to give pointers wherever I can and I let the young guys know that if they want help or need help, I’m available for them.<br><br>“I think we’ve got a great young squad with a lot of potential and they’re only going to get better with every game they play.<br><br>“We’re having a few little lapses here and there but overall I think we’ve got the right mix to do well.”