Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt admits Sydney Roosters rival Mitchell Pearce may have suffered psychological scars at Suncorp Stadium due to his poor NSW State of Origin form.
However, the Broncos playmaker is not expecting the Roosters co-captain to be bothered by them in Friday night’s NRL grand final qualifier in Brisbane.
The stage is set for Pearce to exorcise some mental demons when he makes his expected return from a hamstring complaint for the minor premiers in the preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium.
The Blues No.7 has a horror 0-6 Origin record at the Broncos’ homeground.
The last time he ran out at the ground in NSW colours Pearce was on the wrong end of a record 52-6 Origin series-deciding win in July.
If that was not bad enough, he copped a legendary on-field spray from Johnathan Thurston before he left.
The Queensland playmaker claimed the closest Pearce would get to the Origin shield was touching Wally Lewis’ statue outside the venue because he was “the worst halfback NSW have ever seen at Origin level”.
Hunt admitted that would be enough to “play on the mind” of Pearce at Origin level – but not in the NRL.
“I think it (poor record) could (play on his mind) at Origin level but at club level I don’t think so,” Hunt said on Tuesday.
“He knows he has a great side around him.”
Pearce looks set to be welcomed back from the hamstring complaint suffered in their round 24 win over Brisbane in Sydney, replacing form youngster Jackson Hastings.
“I don’t think he will be under-cooked to be honest,” Hunt said of Pearce’s fitness.
“He’s an ultimate professional. I have seen him in every game at the highest level – he will be at his best.
“He won’t let them down.”
If Pearce does have Suncorp Stadium issues in the NRL, Hunt is probably to blame.
The last time Pearce ran out onto Suncorp Stadium in the NRL, Brisbane prevailed 22-18 in round six thanks to a Hunt golden point try.
The Roosters booked their preliminary final showdown with the Broncos courtesy of a 38-12 win over Canterbury.
Brisbane are in sight of their first grand final since 2006.
The winner faces the Melbourne-North Queensland victor in Sunday week’s NRL grand final in Sydney.