Blues prop White 'will protect' Pearce - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues prop White 'will protect' Pearce

25/06/2008 06:30:19 PM Comments (0)

NSW prop Brett White protected his halfback with a flurry of fists earlier this season and he will do it again if Queensland attack teenager Mitchell Pearce on debut next week.

The NSW firebrand copped a four-match suspension for retaliating with punches when Cronulla's Ben Ross slammed his Melbourne No.7 Cooper Cronk high and late in round two.

With 19-year-old debutant Pearce certain to cop some heavy-handed treatment from the Maroons in next week's decider, White has warned the Blues won't stand for such tactics.

"Let's just say that I hope it doesn't come to that," said White.

"It's the little brother thing, you look after your teammates.

"It's not something you go out and think if someone touches him I'm going to belt them.

"It's a split second thing in the heat of the moment.

"It's a natural sort of thing but it's certainly something you don't go out and focus on.

"If you go chasing that you're going to get yourself in a lot of trouble."

White isn't the only forward prepared for vigilante justice if Pearce is unfairly targeted after fellow prop Willie Mason offered to do likewise last Sunday.

When Pearce was pummelled relentlessly by Newcastle in last weekend's NRL clash, Mason warned referee Tony Archer: "If you don't f***ing do something about this Archer I'll start a stink."

No fight eventuated as Pearce bravely battled on, his courage convincing White the second youngest NSW player in history can handle an Origin belting.

"They threw plenty at him on the weekend up there and he handled himself all right," he said.

"I don't think we have to go out and worry about it.

"But you still do what you do in every game, you protect your teammates and it's no different this game."

While there are no doubts over Pearce's courage, the same cannot be said for White and Mason who were both accused of going missing in the pummelling from Queensland in Origin II.

Their lip service is one thing, but critics now want action.

They've been paired up front for the decider next week and have nowhere to hide.

White admits he hasn't performed to his best for NSW and while the decider may not quite be a career-defining moment he knows that in his fifth Origin he must start to inject himself.

"I have sort of struggled to get the presence out there that I would like to have and that is one thing I certainly would like to work on and get a bit more probably involved early which I sort of missed on the second game up there," said White.

"For the third game I'm definitely looking for more presence out there.

"Every game you have to look at as a big game but you can't try and go out there and chase the perfect game."

White defended the criticism levelled at Mason in Origin II and said all the Blues forwards, not just the two spearheads up front, were out to prove themselves again in the decider.

"I don't think (Mason) was a standout and had a poor game, everyone was probably quiet," said White.

"Picking him in the front row I guess we will look to get a bit more aggression out of him rather than the lines he runs.

"Willie is a big strong guy and having him next to you in the middle of the field is going to be a great.

"Everyone wants to go out there and probably prove something on both sides.

"It's one-all and we've got a big decider."

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