Wednesday 21 March 2018 / 02:55 AM


Back in 2008, the fight for the NSW No.7 jersey was between Mitchell Pearce and Peter Wallace.

Nearly a decade on and with just one series win – a win that included neither Pearce nor Wallace – and Laurie Daley has called on both. Pearce will again wear the Blues No.7. Wallace was slated to play hooker before injury ruled him out.

If the fact that in 2017 Pearce and Wallace are front-runners for Origin selection doesn’t tell the story of the woes the Blues find themselves in, nothing will.

This isn’t a story of loyalty based on performance. This isn’t about the Queensland ethos of sticking fat, of Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston and even the likes of Nate Myles and Sam Thaiday.

This is a story of indecision, of the failure to understand Origin football and of a perverted and inconsistent kind of loyalty that makes absolutely no sense.

Mitchell Pearce epitomises this.

For the last decade he has been a very good club footballer. He has won a premiership. The Roosters have consistently been at the right end of the ladder with him at the helm. As a Rooster, he is an asset.

The same cannot be said for Pearce as a Blue.

Pearce has played 15 Origins. He has won four. Kicking is arguably the most important trait a half can have in Origin. He has forced two line dropouts – two – in 15 games, while the enduring memory of Pearce in the sky blue is him kicking the ball into the breadbasket of Billy Slater like he passed on a grass allergy to the ball. He has more missed tackles in Origin than runs.

We have seen Pearce 15 times. This time – his 16th – ties him with Andrew Johns as the most capped half in Blues history. We know what we are going to get out of Pearce. Laurie Daley does. Peter Sterling does. And if they don’t, they should be sacked.

Pearce’s selection is bigger than Pearce. It is about the failure to plan. It is about the failure to understand. It is about a decade of missed opportunity to build a team to compete with the Maroons. It is about protecting jobs, conservative thinking and inaction.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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