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Mitchell Pearce is given a standing ovation as he leaves the field from his first game back in the NRL.

He came back into the Roosters team last weekend and looked like he'd never been away but Mitchell Pearce has returned to the NRL a changed man according to teammate Mitchell Aubusson. 

Banned from playing for the first eight weeks of the season and stripped of the Roosters captaincy due to his Australia Day indiscretions, Pearce had an immediately positive influence on his Roosters side as they disposed of Newcastle 38-0, scoring a try and laying on another. 

Reports emerged on Thursday that the 27-year-old was going to make himself unavailable or Origin selection in 2016 to focus on his rehabilitation and Aubusson says he has definitely seen a change in his long-time Roosters teammate. 

"I have actually. He's very clear at the moment and has got some things sorted," Aubusson said of any noticeable change. 

"It's up to us as a playing group to make sure we keep him on that path and I'm sure he'll keep playing better as the rounds roll on. 

"I wasn't surprised [by how he played] with the amount of work he's put in over the past few weeks. 

"The way he came in and demanded that we played better and as a leader he went really well for us and hopefully he can build on that." 

Another Rooster who recently returned to the fold is back-rower Boyd Cordner who is with Aubusson in Tamworth as a member of the Country Origin team.  

Since returning from a torn pectoral muscle in Round 8 against the Dragons Cordner has played 158 of a possible 160 minutes and can all but wrap up his spot in the New South Wales team for State of Origin I with a strong display on Sunday. 

Aubusson believes Cordner is already a certainty to be selected by Blues coach Laurie Daley but admitted that their clash with City is a wonderful opportunity for other players to further their claims. 

"I think he's almost pencilled himself in and I think he can do his chances no harm by playing really well on Sunday," Aubusson said. 

"I know he's hungry like everybody else here to play well and push their case forward. 

"It hasn't been really spoken about with us but we just want to win. We want to represent the Country Rugby League and play really well and do a job. If we do that then I'm sure there will be more names read out down the track for higher levels. 

"At the moment it's about getting the win and representing the country people well."


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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