Blues set to punt on Mitchell Pearce - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues set to punt on Mitchell Pearce

By Steve Jancetic and Wayne Heming 23/06/2008 07:30:40 PM Comments (0)

Desperate NSW selectors look set to roll the dice and throw Sydney Roosters teen Mitchell Pearce into the halfback hotseat for next month's Origin decider.

Pearce looms as the selection bolter with the Blues still reeling from a heavy game two defeat and the unavailability of backline stars Peter Wallace, Greg Bird and Mark Gasnier.

Sources close to the NSW camp claim 19-year-old Pearce will be named to partner Roosters teammate Braith Anasta in the halves when the side is announced in Sydney on Tuesday morning.

Blues selectors are hoping their club combination will help ignite a Blues backline rendered redundant in Origin II at Suncorp Stadium.

Pearce's inclusion would see him emulate the deeds of his famous father Wayne Pearce, who pulled on the sky blue 15 times and remains the only man to captain and coach the Blues to series wins.

The Roosters youngster may not provide the only shock with Cronulla centre Ben Pomeroy believed to be a strong chance of beating out Joel Monaghan for a berth in the centres.

St George Illawarra medical officials claimed Gasnier was no chance of coming up in time for the July 2 encounter.

Bird has been ruled out for 2-3 weeks as a result of a ruptured posterior capsule and bone bruising in his left knee, the Cronulla lock devastated when delivered the news.

"It's pretty disappointing, hopefully the boys will get the job done next week," Bird said.

"When it first happened and I was on the ground, that (Origin III) was all I was really thinking about.

"I was pretty hopeful (this morning), it hadn't swelled up too much, it didn't feel too bad, I was walking around this morning.

"But the way the injury is, if it was too rushed, it could go the other way and keep me out longer.

Wallace ran at Broncos training on Monday and is still seeking a medical clearance in a bid to prove he had recovered from surgery to repair a ruptured testicle.

Despite Wallace's confidence, it is believed Blues selectors are concerned that the game one hero would not be able to do any contact work until next week, while it would also have been three weeks between games for the 22-year-old by the time Origin III rolled around.

"It's fine. It feels good and there's no pain," Wallace said.

"Hopefully the coach and medical staff will be happy to let me do that (avoid contact work until next week).

"I'm keen to play. I thought I went okay in the second game."

In the forwards, Newcastle prop Ben Cross looks likely to be reinstated to the front row after missing game two with a broken thumb.

It would present a show of faith by Blues selectors with Manly's Test front rower Brent Kite and departing Dragon Jason Ryles arguably both in better form than the Knights hard man.

Just who will drop out is less clear, with Steve Simpson, Anthony Tupou, Anthony Laffranchi and Craig Fitzgibbon all battling it out for the final three places on the interchange bench alongside Kurt Gidley.

Once again Fitzgibbon's chances of re-selection are boosted by his goalkicking ability, with second string kickers Gasnier and Wallace both set to miss out.

The other change should see Jarryd Hayne return to the wing in place of Steve Turner, Hayne having been ruled out of game two due to suspension.

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