Roosters must beat Knights, says Pearce - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters must beat Knights, says Pearce

Ian McCullough 25/06/2011 03:59:25 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters' halfback Mitchell Pearce admits Sunday's NRL clash with Newcastle at Ausgrid Stadium is a game last year's grand finalists cannot afford to lose.

The Roosters sit in 14th spot on the ladder, winning just two of their past nine games to sit just two points in front of cellar-dwelling Canberra and Gold Coast.

Pearce, who will on Sunday night be named in the NSW side to take on Queensland in the State of Origin decider on July 6, admits putting the representative game out his mind is tough, but is well aware of his responsibilities to the Roosters.

"It's definite a must-win game. We've been saying that for a while, but if we don't, then I think we will have to win every game so it is a very big match for us," Pearce said.

"We've had a few days off after the bye. It was good to freshen up and everyone has come back pretty upbeat so, hopefully, we will have a good one.

"But we have to still prepare as well as any other game because it is not just going to happen.

"It was a real buzz playing Origin last week but we have to try twice as hard to win this week."

The Roosters welcome back Todd Carney fresh from his starring role in the NSW Cup for Newtown Jets last week, and Pearce and fullback Anthony Minichiello both say they've noticed more confidence in the Dally Medallist this week at training.

"Todd played really well in Premier League. It was good for his confidence and has been more upbeat and vocal this week. You don't just become a bad player overnight. It's just about belief and confidence," he said.

Minichiello, who is also set to retain his spot in the Blues' squad, said Carney should be applauded for the decision to drop to reserve grade.

"It was real big of him to ask the coach to play for Newtown," he said.

"He got his running game back and set up a few tries. He's been goal kicking at training as well and I think he is getting back to his best."

Minichiello then set his sights on putting one over NSW teammates Kurt Gidley and Akuila Uate.

"When you become mates with guys from other teams, you probably go in a little harder," he said.

"You don't want to get beaten by them on the field, otherwise they'll let you know after it.

"I'm pretty close with Gids and got to know Aku well in camp but I have to concentrate of getting a big win for the Roosters."

Sam Perrett will return for Brian Smith's side against the Knights, who are looking to return to the top eight after slipping out following Canterbury's win over Wests Tigers on Friday.

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