Peter Sterling with NSW's Mitchell Pearce on the bench during the New South Wales Blues v Queensland Maroons State of Origin rugby league match at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Picture: Brett Costello
Peter Sterling with NSW's Mitchell Pearce on the bench during the New South Wales Blues v Queensland Maroons State of Origin rugby league match at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Picture: Brett Costello

Sterlo urges Pearce to leave Roosters

LEGENDARY halfback Peter Sterling is urging Mitchell Pearce to move on following the Sydney Roosters' prized signing of NRL superstar Cooper Cronk.

Cronk says he hopes Pearce remains at Bondi Junction and believes Roosters coach Trent Robinson can successfully deploy three representative halves in 2018, with Cronk, Pearce and Luke Keary all playing in the same side.

Sterling, though, says he wouldn't cop such treatment as Pearce faces the prospect of playing second fiddle for the next two seasons to his Queensland State of Origin counterpart Cronk.

The most likely scenario, if Pearce stays at the Roosters, is coming off the bench and sharing the dummy-half responsibilities with hooker and co-captain Jake Friend.

 

"I'm just trying to put myself in the place of Mitchell Pearce. I'd really struggle to stay," Sterling, a four-time grand final winner with Parramatta, said on Triple M's Dead Set Legends program.

"Twenty-eight years of age, over 230 first grade games, current NSW halfback, played 17 Origins.

"To then have the alternative of coming off the bench or playing out of dummy half, it doesn't appeal to me."

Sterling said he'd feel slighted if he'd received the treatment Pearce has. "I'd consider myself an elite halfback, a starting halfback," he said. "To sign another halfback and have the thought that it means the hooker can play less minutes, the ramifications for Mitchell Pearce aren't good.

"I don't believe Mitchell Pearce fits alongside Cooper Cronk as starting halves.

"Luke Keary had a fantastic season this year. He is the running five-eighth the Roosters need and enjoyed this year."

Cronk says he spoke with Pearce on Monday after the Roosters confirmed they'd snared the dual Dally M Medallist and two-time Melbourne premiership winner on a $2 million deal.

He refused to go in to specifics but was adamant coach Robinson could make it work with Cronk, Pearce, Keary and Friend all on the books.

"One of the exciting things and the lures of playing at the Roosters was to play alongside Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary," Cronk said on Fox Sports' NRL 360. "That's my preferred option, is that everyone stays and buys into the Roosters culture, which I'm going to have to dive straight into and understand as quickly as I possibly can

"From my point of view, as long as every player's got the ability, can be selfless, work hard and - when it comes down to the crunch - put the team first, then I'm sure what system whatever Trent chooses on a Saturday night or a Friday night or whatever timeslot that we play, I'm sure the best team will be out on the paddock."

If Pearce does decide to move on, he has plenty of options with Manly, Cronulla and Newcastle all keen on the 28-year-old.



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