Pearce keen to prove himself: Friend

Mitchell Pearce has returned to Sydney Roosters training keen to prove himself to his teammates after his drunken Australia Day drama, according to skipper Jake Friend.

Pearce, currently serving an eight match NRL suspension for his off-field antics, returned to Roosters training for the first time on Monday since spending time at a rehabilitation facility in Thailand last month.

Friend said it was important to have Pearce back at the club in the wake of the Roosters’ 42-10 round one thumping at the hands of South Sydney.

“Mitch is back and it is good to have him around the place,” Friend said at the Roosters Moore Park base on Wednesday.

“It is good for the team and good for Mitch as well to get back around the guys.

“He wants to prove himself to the guys and that is great.

“It is good to have him around the young halves and helping them out.”

Rookie halves Jackson Hastings and Jayden Nikorima struggled in their debut as a pairing in the heavy loss to Souths.

Five-eighth Nikorima said Pearce’s return would help his game ahead of Saturday’s round two fixture against Canberra in the nation’s capital.

“Mitch was one of the main reasons I signed with the Roosters,” Nikorima said.

“It is great to have him back, he has been a big help to me so far and I’m sure he will again.”

“I’m looking forward to working with him again.”

Friend insisted the Roosters were in a positive frame of mind despite the poor start to their season.

“There’s no soul searching there,” he said.

“While it is disappointing, we are all in a good head space. It hurt for sure, but we have moved on and are looking forward to Canberra.”

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