Pearce ready to live up to his name in Origin
THERE'S a feeling around the Blues' camp that under pressure half Mitchell Pearce may star for the Blues on Wednesday night.
Origin greats say he is playing for his State of Origin future, yet watching Pearce in camp in Coffs Harbour this week there's been no sign of that pressure.
In a duel of the kickers he has been the player consistently landing the ball in the in-goal, claiming bragging rights over skipper Robbie Farah, Trent Hodkinson and Matt Moylan.
The centre of team engagement, Pearce is calling the shots, running the plays and pushing the wingers for pace.
He and Farah have been the 'go to guys' for coach Laurie Daley.
Off the field, Pearce is dominating the limelight once held by Jarryd Hayne.
He's the man who is getting the high-fives and handshakes going on and off the training paddock in Coffs Harbour.
"I am definitely a better player than when I last played for New South Wales two years ago," Pearce said.
"Mentally I believe in myself a lot more now.
"I think I have always had the ability, but I believe in myself a lot more now."
"I am more confident coming here now because I know if I play my best everything will take care of itself."
As the tattoo 'Pearce' on his arm suggests, there's a weight of expectation on his shoulders when he pulls on the sky blue.
Stacked up his against his father Origin great Wayne 'Junior' Pearce, statistically, Mitchell Pearce is in need of a career defining Origin.
Wayne Pearce, the heart and soul of the 1980s Blues, remains among the greatest ever players never to have won a grand-final, but is remembered in Origin as an absolute powerhouse.
As a hard tackling 89-kilogram forward, 'Junior' in five years of Origin scored 12 points in his 16 Origin games, including match winning performances during the 1986 series.
In his time with the Blues 1983-1988, New South Wales prevailed nine times over the Maroons.
Faster than his dad, Mitchell Pearce at 91-kilograms by contrast has scored four points in his 13 Origin matches.
Worst of all when he has played for New South Wales the Blues have won just three games.
Overdue for a win and in career best form, there will be no missing Mitchell Pearce come kick-off on Wednesday.