Wayne Pearce says son's call-up a gamble - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wayne Pearce says son's call-up a gamble

By Todd Balym 25/06/2008 05:23:28 PM Comments (0)

NSW great Wayne Pearce admits the selection of his 19-year-old son Mitchell at halfback for next week's State of Origin decider is a gamble.

As a father it's a gamble he'd rather make next year.

But the coach inside him is willing to roll the dice now.

"As a coach I would pick him but as a parent I would probably wait 12 months," said Wayne Pearce, the only person to captain and coach NSW to a 3-0 series sweep.

"From a parent's point of view it's a no brainer - next year.

"From a coach's point of view whoever was going to be picked it would be a gamble as the halfback position has not been sorted out.

"The way he played on the weekend it's a calculated gamble and one that will pay off because the kid, I thought he was outstanding given the intimidating factor (Newcastle) threw at him.

"Next year it's a no brainer (he'd be ready). As a parent you like to think someone is 100 per cent right to go and there's no risk involved.

"There is a risk involved with whoever they play in there and I think Mitchell will definitely aim up to it."

Pearce was clarifying comments made on FoxSports earlier in the week when he expressed reservations at his son being picked for Origin.

The risk Pearce talks about is the rate at which NSW halfbacks have been eaten up and spat out again.

Since 2004 the Blues have used eight halfbacks - Craig Gower (two), Brett Finch (three), Trent Barrett, Brett Kimmorley (three), Andrew Johns (two), Jarrod Mullen (two), Peter Wallace (two) and now Pearce.

Queensland have used just two - Scott Prince (four) and Johnathan Thurston (10).

But Pearce says his teenage offspring is ready to handle the cut-throat arena of Origin football and isn't surprised his son has risen to such an elite level after just 30 NRL games.

"I know how much talent the kid has got, I have seen him develop and I know what his attitude is to make it," said Pearce.

"From my point of view it did not surprises me.

"His defence is faultless really for a halfback. His kicking game is great and his running game as well."

The glowing praise was enough for young Mitchell, standing beside his old man in front of the television cameras, to gush "it's embarrassing this."

It was a touching family moment as one of NSW's Origin greats stood proudly alongside his son, the teenager charged with ending Queensland's Origin dominance next Wednesday.

But for this Mitchell is not alone.

He is partnered in the halves with his Sydney Roosters teammate Braith Anasta.

Together they've formed a deadly combination for the Roosters, helping the powerful club climb from the bottom of the NRL table to the top.

It is this partnership which has Wayne Pearce quietly confident about next week's decider at ANZ Stadium.

"One of the key factors in State of Origin is the combination in the halves," said Pearce.

"Out of all the halves combinations in the competition they have been without doubt the best."

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