Stuart puts Pearce under the gun: Petero - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart puts Pearce under the gun: Petero

By Wayne Heming 04/07/2011 09:37:57 PM Comments (0)

Petero Civoniceva warns NSW coach Ricky Stuart has put Mitchell Pearce under big pressure by claiming he's the best halfback in the world.

Long accustomed to seeing their Test No.7 Johnathan Thurston with that mantle, Queenslanders expect Thurston will be motivated to prove Stuart wrong in Wednesday's State of Origin series decider at Suncorp Stadium.

"It's pressure, lots of pressure. If you put yourself out there, you've got to be able to handle it and back it up," said veteran Queensland prop Civoniceva.

"If you get rated amongst the best the challenge is to step up to the plate and play like that every week."

While used to provocative statements from Stuart, the Queensland camp were surprised to see him quoted on Monday as saying: "I think Mitchell is the best halfback in the world. He's got a big job on his hands but he showed in game two that his time has arrived."

While Pearce may prove a long-term NSW halfback, Thurston has the runs on the board over several years for both Queensland and Australia.

"I guess that's his opinion and he's entitled to his opinion," said Civoniceva.

"But I know we've got a No.7 that will want to prove him wrong on Wednesday night and I know there's a lot of people who think differently.

"I guess we will see on Wednesday night.

"I'm very happy with our No.7. He's an inspirational guy and I just love laying a platform for him.

"He's just a champion and with Locky (Darren Lockyer) their leadership is amazing."

Meanwhile, Civoniceva said it wasn't anyone's sole responsibility to stop NSW captain and game two hero Paul Gallen whose relentless charges sapped the Maroons of energy in Sydney.

"I think there's a challenge for all of us on Wednesday night, we all know there has to be an improvement," he said.

"There's responsibility on all our shoulders ... we've got an all-Australian back line but they can't shine if we don't build the momentum for them."

Civoniceva fended off speculation that he could join skipper Lockyer in retirement from State of Origin after his 30th game on Wednesday, saying his passion for Origin was still strong.

And he said Queensland could not bask in their record five series wins in a row going into the 2011 decider.

"That's our past and at the moment we're in a real battle," he said.

"We've been lucky with what we've been able to achieve but we've got so much to play for, whether it's Lockyer's last game at home or for the proud Queenslanders who have faced a lot of adversity this year.

"There's a lot to play for and a lot to inspire us to a great performance."

Queensland wrapped up preparations at their Coolum camp on Monday with star centre Justin Hodges (hamstring) declaring himself ready to go against the Blues on Wednesday night.

Stuart on Monday night denied his comments had put Pearce under any extra pressure.

"There will be no extra pressure," Stuart told Triple M.

"The pressure is playing this third game.

"Mitchell will handle whatever is said in the paper.

"You get a wrap like that and that'll put you on the front foot.

"It's a huge challenge and the pressure for everyone is that you have to go out and play well."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news