Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello says playmaker Mitchell Pearce has lifted his game to another level ahead of the NRL finals.
Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce has lifted his playmaking to another level in anticipation of a big NRL finals series says his skipper Anthony Minichiello.
Pearce shapes as a key cog in a Roosters machine eyeing back-to-back premierships for the first time in a unified competition since Brisbane in 1992-93.
Ahead of Minichiello’s 300th game in the Roosters qualifying final against Penrith at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, the former Golden Boot winner says Pearce is playing his best football at the right time of the year alongside his halves partner James Maloney.
“I think Mitchell Pearce has taken his game to the next level,” Minichiello told AAP.
“The back end of this year and especially the last month of football he has been outstanding.
“Jimmy had a little bit of a slower start, but I think the last month of his football has been great.
“He has complemented Pearcey on a lot of occasions, his running games has grown a bit, he is going well and we need that from him.
“Pearcey, he has been the ultimate professional on and off the field, when he comes to training he is clear, he is focused and that is the difference.
“Same with Jimmy, he is a happy go lucky guy, loves the banter and all that sort of stuff.
“But the back end of the year, I can sense that he smells ‘I have to lift my game here’, he has been much more professional on and off the field.”
Maloney said his combination with Pearce continued to develop.
“We have probably added a few things playing together this year and playing off each other,” he said.
“It is all a work in progress and with the edge connections it is all falling into place at the moment.
“Pearcey has played a lot of good football over a number of years and he is definitely playing some great football at the moment.”