Although his release from the Sydney Roosters has been officially confirmed, conjecture remains over where his new home will be as Mitchell Pearce considers the options available to him.
After a Roosters career that began when he was just 17 years old, the halfback has played in 11 seasons for the club and had a love-hate relationship with the fans.
Like any decision that a player makes regarding their future, it is never easy, however, Pearce felt like moving away from the Roosters was the best one to make.
“Obviously, this hasn’t been an easy decision for me to come to, but I feel that it’s the right one,” said Pearce.
“I’ve been with the Roosters since I was 17 and have grown into a man here.
I’ve made a lot of close friends at the Club, and I’ve always been proud to wear the Roosters jersey.”
Although the club itself means a lot to Pearce having been a part of him for so long, he looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead at his new club once he makes that decision.
The Roosters Club and people there will always mean a lot to me, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenge joining a new club will bring, while continuing to push myself to be the best halfback I can be,” Pearce continued.
“Now that I’ve made this decision, hopefully, I’ll have the rest of my future sorted over the next few weeks,” he added.
Despite his departure, Pearce drew strong praise and well wishes from club Chairman Nick Politis.
“Mitchell has been a big part of the Sydney Roosters Club for more than a decade,” Politis said.
“He’s played 11 seasons of NRL and is among the most-capped players in our Club’s history.”
In the end, as Pearce and the Roosters know, rugby league is a business and the club respects the decision made by their now former play-maker.
“We all love Pearcey – he has developed very strong relationships with a number of people at the Club and we have been through a lot together,” Politis continued.
“While it would have been great to see him continue to add to his legacy at the Roosters, we respect his decision.
“Mitchell will always be a Rooster, and he leaves with our sincerest thanks and very best wishes.”
Someone who has been through all the ups and downs with Pearce is Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who also praised the halfback for his contributions to the Tricolours.
“We’ve been through a lot and I have a lot of respect for Junior both as a footballer and as a man,” Robinson said.
“I’d personally like to thank Pearcey for the role he’s played at the Roosters.
He’s a good person who will always have many friends at the Club and I know I speak on behalf of everyone in wishing him all the very best.”