Maloney backs Pearce to beat Origin Blues

Roosters NRL star James Maloney has backed halves colleague Mitchell Pearce to overcome any post State of Origin letdown in their title-chasing club’s run to the NRL finals.

Pearce will be one of four Roosters playing in Wednesday’s decider in Brisbane, with Michael Jennings and Boyd Cordner also lining up for NSW and Aidan Guerra for Queensland.

All four have been named in the third-placed Roosters squad for Saturday’s away clash with Penrith, when the premiership favourites will look to build on successive wins they had before last week’s bye.

“The backup (after Origin) is tough on everyone that has to do it,” said Maloney, who represented NSW in the 2013 series.

“All of us (non-Origin) boys will take a little bit of that workload there and try and make it a little bit easier for them.”

Asked specifically about halfback Pearce, who has been playing at five-eighth for the Blues, Maloney said “no doubt he’ll go through a little flat period getting over the three (Origin) games.

“But he’ll be right, he always plays good footy for us.

“We’ll try and take a little bit of the workload off him this weekend.”

Although the Roosters haven’t won more than three in a row this season, Maloney was happy with where they are at, at this stage of the competition.

“It’s important that we’re playing the right footy at the right time of the year so that’s not just yet,” Maloney said.

“We still need to build. We still need to improve our footy for the back end of the year.

“We’re happy with where we’re at.

“We obviously had a bit of a slow patch at the start there and it’s taken a lot of work to get us back to a good position.

“There’s still more to do, but you can’t fault where we’re at.”

Cronulla-bound after this season, Maloney was pleased with Tuesday’s news that the Sharks had regained former player Chad Townsend from the Warriors.

Townsend is a potential halves partner for Maloney next season.

“He’s been doing really well over there with the Warriors, so that’s a good signing,” Maloney said.

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