Newcastle Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce admits Nathan Cleary has a mortgage on the New South Wales Blues jumper but says he could do the job for Brad Fittler’s team if ever called upon again.
Pearce had a frustrating 2018 and was hampered by injury but was ultra-impressive when he made it onto the paddock taking Dally M points away from teammate Kalyn Ponga who probably would have won the medal if it wasn’t for Pearce.
“I’m not delusional with that. I had my chances there and didn’t get too many wins,” Pearce told foxsports.com.au.
“Nathan Cleary won his first series and they’ve got a really good young crew. I’m down the pecking order there.
“Do I doubt myself that I could ever do that again? No. I know I’ve got the ability to play at that level.
“But at the moment, NSW had a great series last year and they’ve gone in a new direction.
“If I want to get in those rep sides I’ve got to work really hard to push my way in. There’s some really quality players there.”
Pearce and Ponga are set to pair up in the halves at the Knights.
Join Curtis Woodward and Cam Hickson for live coverage of the Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley Cups, between Wests Tigers and the Panthers, Saturday from 10.30am on the Country Rugby League Facebook page.