Mitchell Pearce is confident his NSW halves combination with Trent Hodkinson is coming good after the chaos of State Of Origin I.
The Blues’ halves have been roundly criticised for failing to take the field-goal option when it was on offer late in Origin I, amid a disappointing second-half effort from the NSW playmakers.
NSW’s loss in Sydney was the duo’s first outing together in a Blue jersey and Pearce said they were better for the run, with their combination only growing stronger in the lead-up to Wednesday’s Game II at the MCG.
“It’s been really good; we have had probably our two best sessions compared to the last camp,” Pearce said.
“Obviously, the first camp was all about learning the plays. It takes you a few days to get your combinations and we’ve come back in here and everyone knows what’s expected, knows what we need to work on and we’ve hit the ground running. So it’s been exciting so far.”
The Blues had two ballwork sessions at their Coffs Harbour base on Wednesday and Thursday and enjoyed a day off on Friday. They will ramp up their preparation in a contact session on Saturday, when Robbie Farah’s troublesome left shoulder will be put to the test.
Pearce combined nicely with Hodkinson for NSW’s second try to Beau Scott in Origin I and the Sydney Roosters’ halfback feels he is growing into his unaccustomed role of five-eighth outside the Canterbury star.
“There’s obviously a little bit of variation but, in a short camp like this, when you only have a few sessions to gel, it’s probably not as different a role as what a club five-eighth would be,” he said.
“It depends on the style you play but, with me and Trent here, we’re sort of playing our edges in yardage then linking up when we can.
“I haven’t had to change too much but there’s definitely a slight difference.”