Kimmorley gives Mitchell Pearce the nod - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kimmorley gives Mitchell Pearce the nod

By David Beniuk 21/09/2010 07:01:24 PM Comments (0)

Brett Kimmorley believes his NSW successor Mitchell Pearce must dominate Friday night's clash with Gold Coast if the Roosters are to make the NRL grand final.

With so much of the spotlight on Roosters five-eighth Todd Carney, recently retired halfback Kimmorley says the battle of Kangaroos squad hopefuls Pearce and Scott Prince will be decisive.

"I used to love playing against another good halfback so I used to go into the game with the theory that if you outplay them then you're a better chance of winning," Kimmorley told AAP on Tuesday.

"I presume that's the way this match-up will go."

Kimmorley, who lost his place in the Blues line-up to Pearce for State of Origin II this year, is clearly excited about how his successor has matured.

"I've been really impressed with how Mitchell's played the last few weeks when he hasn't got a lot of quality ball, but his support game (has been good), he's always around the football," he said.

"Sometimes when you're not getting first receiver football a lot of times guys can fall away but I've thought he's kept himself very busy even though he hasn't been the main ball-player.

"The pass that Mitchell threw to (Shaun) Kenny-Dowall last week (leading to a try for Sam Perrett) was one of the better passes that I've seen for probably six months.

"He's probably better in control of his football game lately.

"His selection of when to play and when not to play under Brian (Smith) is a lot more experienced.

"In the old days it used to be score off everything."

Kimmorley believes Pearce and Carney should be the Blues halves for years to come but, after a chequered Origin career himself, couldn't resist a swipe at how NSW selectors have handled their players.

"Our selection criteria the last few years has been very erratic so I'd love to say, yeah (he'll be there), but I can't say that with much confidence to be honest," Kimmorley said.

"Mitchell played his first game a few years ago (in 2008) and got dropped after one game.

"A lot of times we're quick to drop someone, somehow they're at fault, not their team.

"I think if he was a Queensland player you'd have much more faith to say he'll be there for the next four years.

Rookie Joseph Leilua has been called in to replace injured Roosters winger Phil Graham (pectoral) for the Suncorp Stadium showdown.

Leilua's interchange spot has been taken by utility Ben Jones, while prop Lopini Paea has been added to an extended bench.

Sydney Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Joseph Leilua, Kane Linnett, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sam Perrett, Todd Carney, Mitchell Pearce, Jason Ryles, Jake Friend, Frank Paul Nuuausala, Nate Myles, Mitchell Aubusson, Braith Anasta (capt). Interchange: Martin Kennedy, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Daniel Conn, Ben Jones, Lopini Paea (one to be omitted).

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