Petero Gunning For Pearce In State Of Origin Decider

July 5th, 2011

Petero Civoniceva says Mitchell Pearce may well have a few harsh words for Ricky Stuart after Game Three at Suncorp Stadium after Stuart claimed he was the best halfback in the world.

It was a statement which met with laughter on both sides of the Tweed but the QLD squad will still be looking to prove a point when the clash tomorrow under the direction of Australian halfback Jonathon Thurston.

“It’s pressure, lots of pressure. If you put yourself out there, you’ve got to be able to handle it and back it up,” Civoniceva said.

“If you get rated amongst the best the challenge is to step up to the plate and play like that every week.”

Stuart has tried to use plenty of banter to ruffle up QLD this series but far from creating a chorus of Blue pride, he probably only served to embarrass some of the faithful.

“I think Mitchell is the best halfback in the world. He’s got a big job on his hands but he showed in game two that his time has arrived,” he said at the time.

There’s no doubt Pearce played well in game two, but when you look at the pathetic position the Roosters are in there are simply no comparisons with the long serving Thurston or even Cooper Cronk for that matter.

It’s also worth remembering he wasn’t even a certainty to play for NSW this year with many rating Jarrod Mullen as a better player.

“I guess that’s his opinion and he’s entitled to his opinion,” Civoniceva said.

“But I know we’ve got a No.7 that will want to prove him wrong on Wednesday night and I know there’s a lot of people who think differently.

“I guess we will see on Wednesday night.

“I’m very happy with our No.7. He’s an inspirational guy and I just love laying a platform for him.

“He’s just a champion and with Locky (Darren Lockyer) their leadership is amazing.”

More importantly than the ranting of Stuart, the big prop turned his attention to NSW captain Paul Gallen.

There’s no doubting he really is a genuine threat and he tore them apart in game two.

“I think there’s a challenge for all of us on Wednesday night, we all know there has to be an improvement,” he said.

“There’s responsibility on all our shoulders … we’ve got an all-Australian back line but they can’t shine if we don’t build the momentum for them.”

He said there was no risk of feeling content with winning five in a row and that the passion to win was stronger than ever.

He said he still felt the passion on a personal level as well and six is always better than five.

“That’s our past and at the moment we’re in a real battle,” he said.

“We’ve been lucky with what we’ve been able to achieve but we’ve got so much to play for, whether it’s Lockyer’s last game at home or for the proud Queenslanders who have faced a lot of adversity this year.

“There’s a lot to play for and a lot to inspire us to a great performance.”

Queensland are back at home and relaxing today before switching on tomorrow morning for what for most will be the biggest game of their lives.

Stuart meanwhile was still trying to clean up his mess and was defending both Pearce and himself.

“There will be no extra pressure,” Stuart said.

“The pressure is playing this third game.

“Mitchell will handle whatever is said in the paper.

“You get a wrap like that and that’ll put you on the front foot.

“It’s a huge challenge and the pressure for everyone is that you have to go out and play well.”