‘Don’t ever forget’: Legend’s Pearce plea
Mitchell Pearce had been marked never to be selected again, Blake Ferguson had been dumped by Origin coach Brad Fittler in 2018 — yet both ended up Blues’ heroes in a dual redemption story.
Although with two minutes to go in Origin III it must have felt like deja vu all over again in the worst way — Queensland had somehow done what Queensland do best and come back from the dead.
A 71st minute try to Josh McGuire was followed by a play straight out of Maroons’ legend Steve Price’s back pocket as Ethan Lowe charged down a James Maloney kick and swooped on the ball.
With less than four minutes on the clock Josh Papalii scored and when Lowe converted the horrors of the past must have been dancing into Pearce’s minds eye.
For so long during Queensland’s period of dominance — he was the scapegoat, the halfback, the creator, the leader who couldn’t get it done in series loss in 2008, 2010-13, 2015 and 2017.
Pearce was never sure he would get another chance for the Blues.
Ferguson after last season was in the same boat, he was dumped from the squad for seemingly vague cultural reasons.
Come Game II 2019, he was back for the big 38-6 win and in Game III the huge talent put James Tedesco in for the winner when he streaked away down the sideline and stepped out of a covering tackle from Corey Norman.
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Pearce was the man who started the play, putting Tom Trbojevic on the outside of both Norman and Moses Mbye.
Ferguson’s good mate from this years camp Josh Addo-Carr described the heroics as “something special” even if his initial thoughts were straight from Peter Pan’s playbook when the scores were locked at 20-all.
Blake Ferguson and Josh Addo-Carr continue their bromance.Source:AAP
“We were talking to the boys behind the try line, saying ‘believe, believe, believe”’. When you believe that’s the kind of thing that happens. It’s crazy man. I can’t believe it,” Addo-Carr said.
“I thought he was going the length, but to break that tackle and stay infield was something special.”
Ferguson was typically quiet about his heroics and focused on his family.
“Love it. In front of our friends and family, my partner as well, I love it.”
If it was about family for Ferguson for Pearce — obviously still baring the scars of series’ gone by it was about redemption but the man himself felt nothing would erase the past when asked if it did by Andrew Johns.
Mitchell Pearce celebrates the winning try.Source:AAP
“I don’t know about that,” Pearce said.
“My Origin career has been up and down, but it was about this game tonight.
“To be 30 and brought back into the team for the decider and do my part for the team I feel humbled to be trusted and just stoked to be here.
“We had to chance our arm, what a run from Turbs. I’m stoked to be part of it, been a long time coming. I’m proud of the state and to be part of the team.
“That feels so good.”
If it felt good for Mitchell, his dad Wayne, a Blues legend in his own right was close to tears of joy for his son and revealed what he said to the NSW halfback.
“He was saying ‘dad, how awesome does it feel?’. It does, I don’t want him to forget
how good it feels,” Wayne Pearce said.
“It is (special), he has been through a bit. It’s great. Very good.
“I’m very proud. Hopefully all NSW supporters are.”
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