Robinson backs Pearce for Origin return
Roosters coach Trent Robinson says there's no reason why halfback Mitchell Pearce can't return to State of Origin next year after he missed out on selection for Game Three.
Pearce was overlooked by NSW selectors as a replacement for injured halfback Adam Reynolds, with Panthers fullback Matt Moylan given the nod instead.
Pearce has played 15 games for the Blues since making his debut in 2008, and while he's won just four of those matches, he's often been made the scapegoat for the Blues' defeats.
Robinson rubbished suggestions that Pearce's Origin career was over, telling media that selectors would have to consider the 27-year-old if his form warranted it.
"That's their choice. If he works hard enough over the next six months then he may be back in contention at some stage," Robinson said.
"I don't think anybody is [ready to have the pen put through their name].
"There are two parts to it; if he shows consistent form as being one of the best halves in NSW – which he is – and then shows the commitment to his off-field [life] and becoming a senior player with the Roosters and the competition, then he'll come into contention."
Robinson praised his halfback for what was a stellar comeback from injury against the Bulldogs last week which saw Pearce lay on two tries and regularly take the line on with his footwork.
The Roosters coach stopped short of comparing him to NFL star Tom Brady, but said Pearce – and playmakers in general – had become the most important players on the field.
"I thought he had a great game coming back last week," Robinson said.
"We're not quite the NFL with quarterbacks and their importance, but we're not far off either.
"Halfbacks are really key and we've seen that in competitions over the last few years. Mitchell is no different to that for us. He's missed a large part of the season but he's key to our direction and our attacking play, especially our kicking game."
Meanwhile, Robinson confirmed fullback Latrell Mitchell would be fit to take on the Parramatta Eels on Friday night after being forced from the field with a leg injury last week.
In further good news for the Tricolours, back-rower Boyd Cordner has been given every chance to make an early return from a foot injury that has seen him sidelined since the first Origin game.
"I just saw him then. He's still getting treatment, but he'll be right," Robinson said when asked about his teen fullback.
"I think Boyd's pretty close. I'm hoping that he might get across the line today. I'm not sure about the weather conditions, but he's pretty close.
"He had his first session with us on Wednesday. The risk versus reward is the question more so than if he's ready.
"It's a delicate one with the foot and the risk. The risk isn't the week, the risk is surgery, so we've got to make sure we get the call right."