Mitchell Pearce won't reprise the leading role of his Roosters days in his return to NSW camp, but skipper Boyd Cordner still expects to rekindle a potent combination with his old No.7 despite lining up on opposite edges.
Pearce impressed with all eyes on him in his first Blues training session on Thursday, his latest Origin reprisal set in motion 24 hours earlier when Nathan Cleary succumbed to an ankle injury.
The 30-year-old lined up on NSW's right edge alongside Tyson Frizell for much of the hit-out, slotting into Brad Fittler's original game plan for Cleary and James Maloney that produced a 38-6 trouncing of the Maroons in Perth.
Only later in the session did Pearce and Maloney roam into each other's respective right and left channels.
While Pearce announced himself as the loudest voice present at Blues training, he won't play the dominant "on-ball" halfback role that delivered five straight man-of-the-match awards for Newcastle earlier this year, and a 2013 premiership alongside Maloney at Bondi.
The pair expect to divert from the traditional first and second receiver roles they've used previously, largely because their 15 teammates are better versed in the shared playmaking duties designed for Maloney and Cleary.
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Cordner and Pearce carved out a potent edge combination in their seven years at the Roosters, with the back-rower often hitting superb lines down his left-side channel from Pearce's ball-playing.
Despite Maloney's dominant hand for NSW over the past two series, Cordner expects Pearce to naturally gravitate his way given their successful combination at club level.
"Pearcey was right side when we were at the Roosters as well," Cordner said.
"But he would pop up a lot, sweeping under and coming around to the left a lot and that's how we'd link up a lot back then.
"Jimmy was there with me on the left with me, so that's still the same here in Origin and it's good to have that combination again with both Jimmy and Pearcey.
"There was a lot of times Pearcey would hit me on that line, we had success with that and it'll be good to get that going again."
Pearce was in consultation with NSW champion Andrew Johns throughout Thursday's session, pouring over notes before joining his teammates and discussing tactics with the likes of Jake Trbojevic and Wade Graham.
While Fittler's Origin II game plan remains, Pearce sees overall big-match experience as the key in his pursuit of an elusive Origin series win.
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"With me and Jimmy we obviously both are ball players so we can mix our roles up," Pearce said.
"[But] at the end of the day, Joey Johns said a really good point: Origin's not won with set plays, it's won with moments and effort and all that sort of stuff.
"While we need to execute that stuff, there's a lot more to the game."