7 April 1989|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||182 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||91 kg (14 st 5 lb)|
As of 9 March 2018
Mitchell Pearce (born 7 April 1989) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who co-captains the Newcastle Knights in the National Rugby League. A New South Wales State of Origin, City Origin, Prime Minister's XIII and NRL All Stars representative, he plays as a halfback. He previously played for the Sydney Roosters with whom he won the 2013 NRL Premiership. He is the son of former Balmain Tigers legend, New South Wales, Australian international and now current ARL commissioner Wayne Pearce.
Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Pearce played his junior football for the Asquith Magpies and North Ryde Hawks. Pearce attended and played rugby union for Barker College, before transferring to Marist College North Shore for his senior years, where he played league alongside his friend Kieran Foran. Pearce would later be signed by the Sydney Roosters. In December 2005, Pearce, who was then 16 years old, was at a charity golf function in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast when was attacked by a drunken Craig Gower, the Penrith Panthers captain. Gower allegedly chased Pearce around the resort with a glass bottle before vomiting on him; Gower was also accused of manhandling and groping Pearce's older sister Tatum Pearce.
In Round 2 of the 2007 NRL season, Pearce made his NRL debut for the Sydney Roosters against the North Queensland Cowboys, starting at halfback in the 43-6 loss at 1300SMILES Stadium. After three First Grade appearances for the Roosters, Pearce's contract was extended by the club to the end of the 2010 season. In Round 12 against the Newcastle Knights, Pearce scored his first NRL career try in the Roosters 22-18 loss at Central Coast Stadium. In Round 14 against the Penrith Panthers, Pearce scored an 80-metre try in the final minute from a loose carry from Panthers halfback Craig Gower, the man who previously drunkenly attacked Pearce 2 years prior and got the last laugh by scoring the try of his mistake to win the match for the Roosters 24-20 at Penrith Stadium. Later into the season, Pearce was ruled out for 6 weeks to due a back injury and later in Round 23 onwards where he played off the interchange bench in last 3 matches. Pearce finished his debut year in the NRL with him playing in 16 matches and scoring 2 tries for the Roosters in the 2007 NRL season.
On 2 May 2008, Pearce made his representative debut, playing for City Origin against Country Origin and starting at halfback in the 22-22 all draw at WIN Stadium. On 2 July 2008, Pearce was selected to make his State of Origin debut for New South Wales, replacing the injured Peter Wallace in the Game 3 series decider match at ANZ Stadium. The Blues were defeated 16-10 and lost the series. Pearce later said, "In hindsight I wish I never played that early when I was 19 to 22. I definitely wasn't ready. As a halfback in Origin at 19, it was way too early. I probably developed some bad doubts from that period in those first few games. It's a daunting thing." In Round 21 against the North Queensland Cowboys, Pearce scored his hattrick of tries in the Roosters 32-20 win at 1300SMILES Stadium. Pearce finished the 2008 NRL season with him playing in 25 matches, scoring 7 tries and kicking 1 field goal or the Roosters.
In March 2009, Pearce extended his contract with the Roosters to the end to the 2013 season. Pearce finished Roosters wooden spoon dreaded 2009 NRL season with him playing in all the Roosters 24 matches, scoring 8 tries and kicking 1 field goal.
Pearce regained the halfback spot for New South Wales in Game 2 of the 2010 State of Origin series, where they were beaten by Queensland 34-6 at Suncorp Stadium and lost the series in a fifth consecutive year. Pearce also played in Game 3, where the Blues were beaten 23-18 at ANZ Stadium and were beaten in a whitewash 3-0 series loss. Pearce would later be one the main players to lead the Roosters who were last place wooden spooner’s in the previous season to the 2010 NRL Grand Final against the St George Illawarra Dragons, as the Roosters made the finals on 6th place. On 3 October 2010, Pearce started at halfback in the Roosters 32-8 defeat on the big day. Pearce finished the 2010 NRL season with him playing in 22 matches and scored 9 tries for the Roosters.
On 6 May 2011, Pearce played for City Origin against Country Origin, playing at halfback in the 18-12 loss in Albury. Pearce was selected to play at halfback in all 3 matches for New South Wales in their 2-1 series defeat of the 2011 State of Origin series. Pearce scored his first Origin try in Game 1, where the Blues lost 16-12 at Suncorp Stadium. In Round 18 against the Penrith Panthers, Pearce played his 100th NRL career match in the Roosters 34-26 win at Sydney Football Stadium. Pearce finished the 2011 NRL season with him playing in 21 matches, scoring 3 tries and kicking 1 field goal. On 25 September 2011, Pearce played for Prime Minister’s XIII against Papua New Guinea, playing at halfback in the 36-22 win in Lae.
On 22 April 2012, Pearce played for City Origin against Country Origin, playing at halfback in the 24-22 loss in Mudgee. Pearce was selected to play at halfback in all 3 matches for New South Wales in their 2-1 series defeat of the 2012 State of Origin series. In June 2012, Pearce was rumoured to leave the Roosters to join the Wests Tigers because a tough relationship with the Brian Smith over him being printed on the papers due to his party boy antics. Pearce finished the 2012 NRL season with him playing in 22 matches and scoring 10 tries.
On 13 February 2013, Pearce extended his contract with the Roosters to the end of the 2017 season. With a new coach of Trent Robinson and new halves partner of James Maloney, Pearce’s form was improving from previous seasons and later played in the 2013 State of Origin series, playing in all 3 matches at halfback alongside Maloney in the 2-1 series loss. In Round 23 against the Wests Tigers, Pearce played his 150th NRL career match and scored 2 tries in the 56-14 win at Sydney Football Stadium. Pearce would help the Roosters to win the Minor Premiership and later made it into the 2013 NRL Grand Final where they played against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. On 6 October 2013, Pearce played at halfback in the 26-18 win at ANZ Stadium. Pearce finished the Roosters successful 2013 NRL season with him playing in 26 matches and scoring 5 tries.
In May 2014, Pearce was given a infringement notice by police after he refused to leave a nightclub in Kings Cross after a female clubber complained about his actions. He was later fined $20,000 and given a 1 match suspension. Pearce was later dropped from the New South Wales squad, where Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs halfback Trent Hodkinson took over his incumbent spot and by coincidence he scored the winning try in Game 2 to win the series for the Blues for the first time since 2005 as Pearce has never had an Origin series win. Pearce finished the 2014 NRL season with him playing in 26 matches and scoring 9 tries for the Roosters.
Pearce made his return to the Origin arena for the 2015 State of Origin series playing at five-eighth, a position he usually doesn’t play at in all 3 matches as NSW went down to lose series 2-1. In Game 3 as the Blues copped an embarrassing 52-6 series decider defeat, Pearce was on the receiving off a brutal sledge from Queensland five-eighth Johnathan Thurston, Him saying to Pearce, “If you want to touch the shield, your best chance is to go up and touch the Wally Lewis statue out the front of the stadium, I'll take the picture, that will be the closest you get to the shield in your lifetime", after he Pearce allegedly sledged him before the match saying that he was “too old for Origin”. In Round 21 against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Pearce became the youngest player in NRL history to play 200 career matches (at 26 years 115 days) as the Roosters won 38-28 at Sydney Football Stadium. Pearce was appointed co-captain of the Roosters and his side went on to win the Minor Premiership to bowed out in the Preliminary Final against the Brisbane Broncos when they were defeated 31-12 at Suncorp Stadium. Pearce finished the 2015 NRL season with him playing in 21 matches and scoring 1 try for the Roosters.
After Pearce's controversial drunken Australia Day antics that was caught on video, Pearce was fined $125,000 by the NRL, suspended for 8-matches and lost his co-captaincy for the Roosters. Pearce later made his return for the Roosters in Round 8 against the Newcastle Knights, scoring a try in the 38-0 win at Sydney Football Stadium. Pearce wasn’t selected for New South Wales for the 2016 State of Origin series, with selectors opting to put South Sydney Rabbitohs half Adam Reynolds at halfback. Pearce finished his rough 2016 NRL season with him playing in a career low 12 matches and scoring 1 try for the Roosters. On 24 September 2016, Pearce played for Prime Minister’s XIII against Papua New Guinea, playing at halfback in the 58-0 win in Port Moresby.
In the Round 8 ANZAC Day match against the St George Illawarra Dragons, Pearce kicked a game winning field goal in the 83rd minute during Golden Point to give the Roosters a 13-12 victory and won the ANZAC Man of the Match Medal at Sydney Football Stadium. In Round 16 against the Melbourne Storm, Pearce would again kick a match winning field goal in Golden Point to give the Roosters a 25-24 victory at Adelaide Oval. Pearce who started the season in good form would again get selected to play at halfback for New South Wales for the 2017 State of Origin series in all 3 matches and scored 2 tries in another unsuccessful attempt for Pearce to be part of winning Origin team. On 27 September 2017, Pearce was the winner of the Peter Frilingos Headline Moment of the Year of his match winning performance in the Roosters ANZAC Day clash against the St George Illawarra Dragons. Following the 2017 season in which Pearce helped the Roosters take 2nd place on the ladder and made it to the preliminary final, it was announced that the Roosters had signed Melbourne Storm superstar halfback Cooper Cronk on a two year deal. Pearce, feeling betrayed, started weighing his future in what would be the biggest decision in his career. In the end, Pearce decided to leave the club and on 20 November 2017, the Sydney Roosters granted Pearce an immediate release from his remaining contract. Pearce was negotiating with the Newcastle Knights, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. On 30 November 2017, it was announced that Pearce signed a 4-year deal with the Newcastle Knights starting from 2018, worth about $4 Million over the time. Pearce finished his 10-year stint with the Sydney Roosters with him playing in playing in 23 matches, scoring 7 tries and kicking 3 field goals in the 2017 NRL season.
Point Scoring Summary – Roosters & Knights (NRL)
2014 King Cross nightclub
In May 2014 Pearce was fined $20,000 and suspended for one game by the Roosters following an incident in a Kings Cross nightclub. A video broadcast on the Nine Network appeared to show a woman in a yellow dress becoming agitated by Pearce's actions. She had made a complaint to the police, but did not proceed with further action. The police issued an infringement notice to Pearce for failing to leave the club when asked and banned him from the Kings Cross area for 48 hours.
2016 Australia Day party
On 27 January 2016 a video was aired showing an intoxicated Pearce forcing an unwanted kiss on a woman and, when rejected, simulating sex with her dog, after having urinated on himself and her couch.. Within hours the Sydney Roosters released a short statement stating that they had advised the NRL’s Integrity Unit of the incident and would conduct an internal investigation. The NRL, in turn, asked the Roosters for a report into the incident. Two days after the video was first aired, an emotional Pearce read a statement to the media apologising for his actions and acknowledging that he has a problem with alcohol. He left Australia shortly thereafter, for treatment in an "intensive rehabilitation facility for an extended period".
Following his return to Australia at the end of February, Pearce said that he had given up alcohol. Shortly afterwards, Pearce overcame the impasse in negotiations between the Roosters and the NRL over the severity of his punishment by phoning his club and saying that he "deserved to be sidelined for a lengthy period.” He was given a fine of $125,000, with $50,000 being suspended for two years, and an eight match ban.
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