Pearce to rebound from Origin blues: Keary

There’ll be no need to wrap maligned NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce in cotton wool when he returns to the NRL this weekend, assures Sydney Roosters teammate Luke Keary.

Critics have spent the past week sticking the boot in to Pearce after he struggled to make his mark in yet another State of Origin decider.

The 28-year-old playmaker has now lost every one of the seven series he’s been involved in and is the centre of familiar speculation that his days in a Blues jersey are done.

But his club halves partner was certain he’ll be in a good enough frame of mind to steer the second-placed Roosters against cellar dwellers Newcastle on Friday night.

“I had a quick yarn to him, he’s sweet,” Keary said.

“He’s a professional so he’ll put all that behind him.

“Obviously he’s our halfback and he runs the ship here so hopefully he comes back in a good headspace – I know he will.

“He’s been around for a while now so he’ll be able to handle it all.”

Keary felt the intense scrutiny and pressure surrounding Pearce’s Origin performances had been somewhat unfair.

“Probably, yeah. I reckon,” he said.

“When you lose the finger is going to be pointed at your main ball-players.

“It’s just all part of it isn’t it. You cop it on the chin and move on.”

Pearce has taken a holiday to Fiji over the Roosters’ bye weekend but is expected to return to training on Wednesday alongside fellow Origin players Dylan Napa, Blake Ferguson and Boyd Cordner.

The club expects Cordner will be fit to line up against the Knights after overcoming his calf injury just in time to lead NSW in last Wednesday’s defeat.

His co-captain Jake Friend is sidelined for another few weeks with a broken hand, while fullback Michael Gordon is out for most – if not all – of the regular season with a pectoral injury.

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