Pearce still in Origin mix: Mullen - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pearce still in Origin mix: Mullen

By David Beniuk 05/05/2009 06:03:56 PM Comments (0)

NSW Country halfback Jarrod Mullen has dismissed talk of a two-horse race between himself and City's Peter Wallace for the Blues' No.7 jersey.

Mullen's blinder for Newcastle in Saturday night's 28-12 upset of Brisbane earned him a second straight crack at Bronco Wallace in Orange on Friday, but the Knights playmaker believes Blues incumbent Mitchell Pearce is still in the minds of State of Origin selectors.

"It's a good contest between me and obviously Pete Wallace but I think Pearcey's still in contention," Mullen told reporters on Tuesday.

"There's a couple of other halves, Jamie Soward's come into our side so he's still in contention.

"So it's a good battle and it keeps everyone on their toes."

Mullen reportedly leap-frogged injured Cronulla five-eighth Trent Barrett and Bulldogs halfback Brett Kimmorley into the Country side at the request of a Blues hierarchy keen to see him go head-to-head again with Wallace.

The Knights playmaker, who said his shoulder injury was "all right now", played one match for NSW in 2007, while Wallace played the first two games last year and Pearce the third.

But the Sydney Roosters No.7 was controversially overlooked for the unofficial Origin trial.

With as many as 12 positions up for grabs, Mullen said a win on Friday would boost his teammates' NSW chances - something that had been made clear by Country coach and Blues selector Laurie Daley.

"If we end up winning the game, obviously hopefully we can get more people in the side," Mullen said.

"Loz (Daley) spoke about that, but if we play well as a team obviously we can win ... and hopefully get more people in."

Mullen's room-mate in Orange, Soward, was added to the Country bench on Monday after his St George Illawarra captain Ben Hornby was ruled out with a quadriceps injury.

Soward said he had "no idea" where he would be used off the bench and downplayed suggestions he was in the best form of his career as he prepares for his representative debut.

"I think I'm going all right, I don't know about best form, I think the team's going really well and I'm just doing my little bit on the back of that," he said.

"I've said before if I wanted to play a sport by myself I'd play tennis so it's not really my own form, it's the team's form."

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