The talented 27-year-old has played 15 matches for the Blues but missed the 2016 series following his Australia Day indiscretions that resulted in an eight-week suspension to start the season. Pearce has only registered four victories against the once-in-a-generation Queensland side and has often been made the scapegoat for his side’s losses, but Sterling said the Roosters halfback was still in the frame for NSW selection.He will face stiff competition for a Blues jersey in 2017 with incumbent halves James Maloney and Matt Moylan impressing on the Four Nations tour, while Adam Reynolds – who missed Game III through injury – will also be in contention, as will uncapped stars Blake Austin and Nathan Cleary. Pearce, who has worn the No.7 jersey in 12 of his 15 Origin appearances – overcame injuries to play a starring role for the Roosters in the back end of last season and will be on the selectors’ radar if he can keep that form up. “I’d love to see him back in contention for sure. He’s got a lot to offer,” Sterling said. “We know that he’s had some problems, but when it comes to what he can do on the football field then there’s never been any question about that. “It’ll be dependent on how he starts the season, where his headspace is and how well he’s playing, and when it comes to the number sevens, he’s right up there with the very best of them and he’s had plenty of experience so that will put him in very strong contention.”Sterling said there was no denying Pearce’s ability on the field and is confident his eight-game suspension has set him straight away from the field as well. “I know it’s a bit of a cliché but he’s a great bloke. I know that that only goes so far and there are certain areas that he’s had to address and hopefully he will have done that,” the former Eels great said. “He copped a kick up the backside this year, and it was one that was obviously needed, but if his head’s right then his game is there. “We just need proof that he’s learnt from past mistakes and that he’s ready to maybe take that next step again to really become one of our elite players and one of our leaders, because I know it’s there; it’s just got to come to the fore more so than it has in the past.”Sterling said he’d be happy to sit down with Pearce to discuss what it would take to get back in the Origin team, but admitted there were other people better placed to help the Roosters halfback. “I don’t know if that’s my role [but] I’m happy to,” Sterling said. “I think Trent Robinson – his club coach – has got a pretty good idea of what Mitchell Pearce should be doing on the paddock, so I don’t want to be stepping on anybody’s toes. “But if there is an avenue to have a little bit of a chat about parts of his game [I’d be open to that]. I think Andrew Johns has done work with him as well and may do so again.”Blues coach Laurie Daley has publicly supported Pearce in the past and said the halfback’s wellbeing was the most pressing issue going forward. “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get back up,” Daley said. “From all reports Mitch is going really well. He’s training the house down with the Roosters and he’s really turned his life around. “I think we all know that Mitch is a really good kid. Obviously he’s made some mistakes over the last couple of years, but he’s still got plenty in front of him. “I just want to see Mitch get settled in life – which he is at the moment – and go out and play some really good footy for the Roosters. Whatever happens after that is a bonus.”
Despite the unforgiving humidity, the Knights held off a Kumuls come back after taking an eight point lead in the first half.Brendan Nima opened the scoring in 13th minute when Nene McDonald tapped back a Watson Boas fifth last kick to Nima to score in the right corner. Watson Boas missed the conversion giving Kumuls a 4 – 0 lead.After a penalty against Nene McDonald for dangerous play, the Knights would score in the 21st minute when try scorer Nima allowed the ball to bounce in the in goal area for Centre Liam Sutcliffe to score.After kick-restrated, the Kumuls would regain the ball in Knights territory after taking the ball out of touch.In the ensuing set, Edwin Ipape, would take on the line and offload to Moses Meninga, who make a lovely right step to run through and score next to the posts. The unconverted try saw the Kumuls lead 8 – 4.The Knights would absorb the pressure and in the 30th minute, after Rhadley Brawa drops the ball cold in the Kumuls 20 metre, Knights winger Tom Lineham would score after Kumuls ran out of defenders on the left flank for a 10 – 8 lead. The Knights again showed some class when they found a 40-20 kick, and Tom Davies would stroll over in the right hand corner for an easy try. The conversion left the score at 16 – 8 going into half time.The Kumuls opened the second half with aggression and after minutes of pressure Edwin Ipape would score off a Justin Olam run in the 50th minute. The missed conversion left the score at 16 – 12.That was the Kumuls only consolation as the Knights held on.Kumuls Assistant Coach, Stanley Tepend, said too many errors cost them the match and they would bounce back.Picture credit: PNG Kumuls Facebook Page
Dominating possession for most of the first half, PNG eventually got a result in extra time through scoring machine Meagen Gunemba who fired a shot into the nets after a good cross from Georgina Kaikas.The downpour did not help both sides especially Cook Islands who could not get past PNG’s solid backline.PNG got their second goal early in the second half after a shot deflected off the gloves of Cook Island’s goalkeeper Marjorie Toru and onto PNG’S Fatima Rama who booted it in.From this point, PNG turned to defence to steer them home to a 2-0 win.Finals for the women’s soccer will start next week.
Tickets are being sold for K10 per head as Games officials are getting ready to start the most “looked forward to” sports with PNG golden girl Toea Wisil leading the team.According to athletics officials, PNG will field more than 600 athletes in different fields.Photo: Hundreds of people lining up to buy tickets this morning near a stall close to the BP stadium.
A double from Stanly Olo in the first half puts Gurias in front leading 12-0 at the break.The second half grew more physical with Mioks regaining momentum with strong counter attacks and applying hard tackles forcing Gurias into ball handling errors.With 15 into the second half, Mioks half back Dicksy Anni slamed the ball over Gurias line with an amazing fly catch inside the Gurias try line landing under the center post to narrow the lead to 6-12.Gurias than sent in Joe Taputapu into the corner post to further their lead to 16-6.But that was not the end when Gurias struck back before the final whistle with another set play that saw Ezra Gotuno penetrating through the strong Mioks fence with a short ball reaching over and grounding the ball for a 22-6 margin.Gurias now will take on the Mt Hagen Eagles to find the winner that will play the minor premiers Lae Snax Tigers in the Grand final.