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NRL News

Pearce still has Origin fire in belly


Former NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce admits he still has the fire in his belly.

But he continues to throw his support behind Cody Walker and Nathan Cleary after they were unable to steer the Blues to a victory in State of Origin I.

Pearce, who has yet to taste Origin success in seven series attempts, knows exactly how the NSW halves duo feel right now.

"I've been in those positions before. My support's behind Nathan Cleary and Walker. I thought they did a good job," Pearce said.

"To sit back and not be involved in the criticism after a loss, my support's behind those guys. I know they'd be hurting (Thursday) morning after a loss."

Should NSW coach Brad Fittler opt to make changes to his scrumbase combination, Pearce will likely be at the top of the list.

Sydney Roosters' Luke Keary is sidelined for five more weeks due to concussion, while South Sydney's Adam Reynolds is out indefinitely with a fractured back.

Pearce was reluctant to put his hand up when asked about his desire to return to the arena, where he has largely been made a scapegoat for the Blues' run of outs.

NSW have lifted the shield just twice in the past 13 years.

The 30-year-old gets a chance to further push his claims on Friday night when Newcastle look to extend their winning streak to six against the Rabbitohs.

The NSW team for game two is expected to be announced on Sunday week.

"There's obviously some goals there. Watching (Wednesday) night, I had some fire in the belly. But for me, I'm not in a place to comment," he said.

"We'll see what happens over the next few weeks.

"I've been in those teams before and I'm not going to come out and comment about team selections and changes to teams. I'll be backing the boys.

"I thought they worked out their backside off (Wednesday) in the game."

© AAP 2019