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Dowling says Pearce could be scarred

Wayne Heming 23/05/2011 04:53:41 PM Comments (0)

Former Maroons hard man Greg Dowling says Queensland must find out early if young NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce has been scarred by Origin.

Pearce, the son of Balmain great Wayne Pearce, has played three Origin games without a win - including a 34-6 psychological hammering at Suncorp Stadium during last year's 3-0 series whitewash.

Dowling believes those losses plus being snubbed by selectors for the 2009 series could have scarred the youngster's confidence at Origin level.

"Origin is often about how you handle it and how you handle losing," Dowling told AAP.

"You can get very scarred from Origin, you can.

"Guys like Pearce and that are already scarred.

"He'll be looking over his shoulder. I have no doubt Queensland will go after their two halves (Pearce and Jamie Soward) before they have time to settle into the game."

Pearce was pitched into his first Origin at just 19 with Braith Anasta under enormous pressure with the series on the line in 2008.

The Blues lost 16-10.

The following year he was overlooked for Peter Wallace for the first two games with veteran Brett Kimmorley playing the third match when selectors could have given him another crack to help his shattered confidence.

After losing the opening game 28-24 at ANZ Stadium last year with Kimmorley again at No.7, Pearce was recalled for the last two games which NSW lost, crashing to a fifth straight series loss.

Dowling believes Pearce may have some Origin demons given the pressure on NSW to halt the Maroon streak.

Dowling though disagrees with some provocative attempts to paint the NSW forward pack out to be the worst fielded in Origin.

"I don't think Queensland will dominate," he said when asked about the Blues forwards.

"They picked a very good working pack with blokes who will keep going."

Dowling, who played 11 Origins and was involved in some fiery brawls in the early years, sees a lot of Queensland's Matt Scott in young NSW prop Kade Snowden.

He also likes the return of the "Blues brothers" Paul Gallen and Greg Bird.

He said Snowden was "one of the good young fellas coming through" who'd already played for Australia.

"He'll know what to expect and he's tough," said Dowling who rated Scott the best front-rower playing rugby league.

"Matty Scott was in Kade's boots a few years ago but I have absolutely no doubt he's the best prop in the game.

"He's fearless.

"He keeps charging into the them. It doesn't matter how hard they hit him, he just keeps coming at you.

"Players get sick of blokes like Scott who just keep getting up and coming back for more."

Dowling believes the absence of world class centres Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges and the loss of another giant Israel Folau has brought Queensland "back to the field".

"They've been match winners for Queensland for a while, even though Hodges didn't play last year." he said.

"But Queensland have got Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Darren Lockyer and Cameron Smith. They'll be the difference as they were in the recent Test win over New Zealand with their cohesion.

"It's the work rate that you have to do in Origin, you have to work your arse off, there's no rest.

"Queensland do that best, they just keep coming at you, they've got that belief."

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