Sydney Roosters half Mitchell Pearce has been singled out as under-performing according to the statistics, as the rookie half has seemingly felt the effects of a State of Origin hangover after making his debut this year.
After getting the nod at no.7 for New Souths Wales in Origin III, the young Pearce has struggled in several departments, such as tackle breaks and average runs.
However his long kicking game has improved, but Pearce has reduced the amount of time he is running with the ball and his try assists have fallen from 13 to 6 after Origin.
Still only 19 years old, Pearce is carrying a heavy weight on his shoulders as he guides the Roosters around. However the rookie could only manage a single linebreak over the final 9 regular season rounds of the NRL.
On the flip side, Brisbane Broncos duo Darren Lockyer and Peter Wallace, are finding solid form at the right time. Both enjoying better runs without injury and working up their good combination in the past fortnight.
While money continued to flow “12 to one in favour” of the Broncos with TAB Sportsbet, teammate and Roosters skipper Braith Anasta leapt to his mate’s defence and assured fans the No.7 would have no problems with September football.
“He’s a natural footballer who has handled Origin and I’m sure he’ll handle this finals series,” Anasta said.
“The talent he has and the ability he has shown proves he’ll be a player of the future.”
Anasta said the halves were the first to come under fire when a side started to lose.
He admitted he and Pearce became confused with the game plan once they dropped three in a row but had since recovered.
Anasta and Pearce were able to steer the Bondi club to victory in the final two regular-season rounds.