Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is rarely heard talking up an opposing player but he still holds former halfback Mitchell Pearce in the highest regard.
Pearce's form has sky-rocketed over the past month with the Knights halfback earning three Dally M points per game over the last four rounds to sit two behind Cameron Munster with 12 points on the leaderboard.
The Roosters let Pearce go as part of their deal to lure Cooper Cronk to the club in 2018 and Robinson maintained the former No.7 was still appreciated by his ex-teammates despite his replacement's instant impact at Bondi.
Speaking ahead of Friday night's game against the Knights in Newcastle, Robinson's admiration and respect for Pearce runs deep.
"Mitchell was a big part of our club. He's obviously a Knight but a premiership-winner here and won other titles and very much a Rooster," Robinson said on Thursday.
"He's been very instrumental … the main instrument in pushing them forward. It's about him allowing him to flourish in his own right and he has.
"I think we're seeing that, it's good to see from a guy who I still really like and like watching him play well. I think he's been playing really well and it's been a joy to see. That's our task tomorrow night to shut that down."
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Robinson was adamant the Roosters were well prepared to respond to last week's road loss to the Broncos.
Cronk's retirement announcement on Monday had also played a role in the team's preparations.
"I thought it was really important for our players to watch Cooper celebrate his career but then also watch him announce his retirement," Robinson said.
"The players made a lot of comments to me after that, probably not to Cooper, players don't share that information as much, but they commented about the way he spoke and manner he did … classy.
"There's that teammate and equality across the team and there's also that respect everyone has for him. It was the right way to do it."
Roosters co-captain Jake Friend said the move for both halves had paid off for each club.
"Pearcey is a good mate, and at our club I'd only ever played with Pearcey," Friend said.
"Learning of the decision (to bring Cronk in at Pearce's expense), I said my bit to people that I needed to. We chatted about it, and it was done.
"Mitch got a good opportunity to go to Newcastle and build a team.
"As a club and a player I think it's been a great decision. Pearcey's doing well up in Newcastle and Coops came here and he's delivered on the premiership that apparently he was meant to deliver."