Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has hinted at moves to extend former bad boy Mitchell Pearce’s contract at the club.
Pearce’s place at Bondi appeared on shaky ground after his drunken Australia Day atrocities resulted in an eight-game ban and contributed to the Roosters’ poor start to the season.
But the halfback has since regained the form that entrenched him in the NSW State of Origin team for the last eight years, leading the Tricolours to three wins in their past four games.
Robinson has been so impressed with the former captain’s turnaround that he recently opened dialogue with the 27-year-old to ensure he remains a key piece of the roster moving forward.
“Mitchell and I have discussed that. Mitchell’s always been the future at the Roosters, as long as the off-field matches the on-field,” Robinson said on Friday.
“Since he came back from (rehab in) Thailand, he’s had a great year. It’s a credit to himself first of all and then the people around him.”
Despite playing just 10 games this year, Pearce leads the team in try assists (15) and line break assists (14), and won the past three games he has played.
Following James Maloney’s move to Cronulla last summer, Robinson said Pearce’s experience was key to the emergence of young playmakers Connor Watson and Ryan Matterson.
Luke Keary, 24, is also set to arrive from South Sydney at the end of the year.
“It’s been difficult this year (but) really rewarding lately. It shows the importance of Mitchell here,” Robinson said.
The 14th-placed Roosters, who have defeated finals contenders Brisbane and North Queensland, and knocked St George Illawarra from contention over the past month, face Cronulla on Saturday.