It’s only two games into the season and already the knives are out for Mitchell Pearce’s Origin hopes.
And to be fair, Reynolds has played very well in two straight wins and his control of the game against the Roosters — albeit with the majority of possession enabled by poor Roosters dsicipline and handling — was first class.
Mitchell Pearce was quiet against the Warriors but was good with limited opportunities against the Bunnies. His long kicking game was outstanding but his short kicking game needs work and he’s been overshadowed by his teammates somewhat through two rounds.
And his defence, as always, has been top shelf.
Laurie Daley backed him for the role before the season started, but we know how this all works: the media will continually call for Reynolds and demand Pearce’s axing if the Blues don’t win the first game, despite the Queenslanders being the most dominant Origin team of all time.
And in the Sydney Morning Herald today, Phil Gould essentially called for Pearce to retain his spot, while implying that Reynolds is playing better.
Mitchell Pearce needs to step up against the Broncos and show that form he was in through the trials and prior to the Origin series last year to keep the hounds at bay.
His short kicking game needs more consistency, and its the one area we can categorically say that Reynolds has it over MP7. But he’s taking the line on at least, something the Rabbitohs’ half never does, and he’s a far better defender.
But that doesn’t matter. The hounds are baying for blood, and MP7 doesn’t have to just match Reynolds, but play better.
It starts with the game this Saturday against peter Wallace and the Brisbane Broncos. He’s had a phenomenal preseason, and he needs to convert that into a dominant halfback display.
Hopefully the forwards can give him the proper platform to work off: a platform which has been provided to Reynolds more often.
From the Herald:
Queensland has won seven Origin series in a row on attitude, togetherness and talent. Above all else, though, the brilliant combinations of their playmaker group, which has stayed pretty much constant during the entirety of this successful period, have been a major factor.
As we know, NSW during this period chopped and changed its playmaker combinations just about every match, looking for the winning formula. Finally, last year, we stuck with the same group and wouldn’t you know it, we nearly won. So why are people now calling for changes to the NSW halves? Surely if we change again, it would only waste whatever we learned from last year’s near-miss.
Having said that, it would help selectors to remain loyal if the incumbent NSW No.7 could try to at least match the exploits and consistency of the young South Sydney No.7, who it must be said is coming to get him, big time. Over to you, Mitchell.
via Set of Six.