Mitchell Pearce’s wellbeing should be the paramount consideration when it comes to his State of Origin availability, his Sydney Roosters teammates say.
Questions remain as to whether Pearce has made himself available for NSW for this year’s Origin series as his rehabilitation from his Australia Day meltdown continues.
Roosters props Sam Moa and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves said on Wednesday they both believe Pearce’s ongoing health should override any allegiance the incumbent Blues playmaker has to NSW and coach Laurie Daley.
“I have never seen him conduct himself as well as he had been since the drama, there is a lot of clarity in the way he is speaking and interacting with us,” Moa told AAP on Wednesday.
“First and foremost we have to look after him as a person.
“If it is his intention not to play, it is the right thing to listen to that considering what he has had to go through.
“If he is forced to play I think it shows as a game that we are only willing to listen and dish out punishment when needed, but when the actual welfare of a player comes under consideration it is ignored.”
Pearce starred in his return from an eight-match ban in the Roosters’ last-start 38-0 hammering of Newcastle before the NRL broke for the representative round.
The premiership-winning halfback continues to attend counselling four nights a week as part of his rehabilitation.
Moa’s fellow New Zealand international Waerea-Hargreaves agreed that Pearce had the right to choose his destiny.
“Mitchell is in the best frame of mind in the eight years I have known him,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“He has worked so hard and it is a credit to himself.
“It is a bit of a sticky situation he is in, but his health is the most important thing and I am backing whatever decision he wants to make.”
There are two NRL rounds to play before Daley picks his side for Origin I on May 23.