Believing he has grown as a player and man, Mitchell Pearce says he’d be much more relaxed if handed another shot at State of Origin this year.
Pearce admits he used to “freak out” about having to lead NSW around before being dumped last year following a drunken night out and 12 games for his state but no series wins.
But the 26-year-old Sydney Roosters co-captain and premiership winner says he’d relish another chance at Origin as selectors worry about the form of NSW’s incumbent halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson.
“Josh and Trent Hodkinson did a great job last year,” Pearce said on Wednesday.
“I’ve said the whole time since I’ve done interviews that they deserve the first crack because they’re the incumbents and they won the series.
“So I still stand with that but at the same time if I was to get picked I’d be ready.”
Pearce relinquished his NSW No.7 jumper last year after being fined $20,000 for his wild night out in King’s Cross three weeks before the Origin series opener.
He thinks he’s learnt from the experience and also now deals with the stress of selection speculation a lot better.
“I definitely feel a lot more relaxed,” Pearce said.
“I haven’t handled that situation well in the past, especially when I was younger. I sort of let it get to me a bit mentally with the preparation with all that stuff going on.
“So just this year I’ve probably developed a bit as a person. I know what works a bit more so instead I’ve been worrying about that and that’s what I’ve been concentrating on.”