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It takes the eye of the Tiger to see the power in his Rooster

The Proud Father

Time to celebrate: Mitchell Pearce of the Roosters.

Time to celebrate: Mitchell Pearce of the Roosters. Photo: Brendan Esposito

He was left heartbroken by grand final defeats in the 1980s but the tears welling up in Wayne Pearce's eyes on Sunday night were the result of joy not agony.

The former Balmain captain, an ARL Commission member, sat on the sidelines as his son Mitchell, the Sydney Roosters halfback, atoned for the Tigers' shattering defeats in the 1988 and 1989 premiership deciders.

Pearce snr finished his wonderful career never tasting grand final glory but said the success of the 24-year-old Roosters No.7 felt like his own.

''It was very emotional,'' Pearce said of greeting his son after full-time. ''I had to fight back tears, but that was to be expected. It just feels like I've won one myself. I'm over the moon. It's just fantastic.''

Pearce's Tigers played in what is widely regarded as the greatest grand final of all time - the 1989 thriller against Canberra.

Sunday night's finale may not be remembered quite in that class but it was unquestionably top shelf, with the Roosters fighting back from 18-8 down to win 26-18.

''I knew they just needed to get a bit of ball,'' Pearce said of the Roosters. ''They were making too many mistakes. If they got a bit of ball, which they did, they'd put a couple of tries on, I thought. It showed a lot of ticker to come back against an experienced side like Manly, coming from that far behind.''

Of Mitchell he added: ''He did what had to be done. He did well tonight. I'm very proud of him.''

On the other side of the equation, Manly front-rower George Rose said he was sad to be leaving the Sea Eagles knowing what could have been.

''I had a chat to the boys after it. It's going to be hard to leave,'' said Rose, who will join Melbourne next season. ''They're a real good group of fellas, and I've had a great time here. It's hard walking away from them.''

Rose was a member of the 2011 Manly premiership team and said he had not experienced grand final defeat ''since under-15s for the Bathurst Penguins''.

''That one didn't hurt as much as this one, though,'' he said. ''I'm pretty sad to know that we still could have got the win. It's just a shame that we couldn't be the ones out there singing the song.''

7 comments so far

  • Finally young Mitchell has stepped out from under the shadow of his champion father and must be accepted on his own merit rather than Junior's Son. Hard earned!! Well done!!!

    Easts Tragic
    Date and time
    October 07, 2013, 7:02AM
    • Mitchell has shown this season that he's the best half back in nsw.

      uncle tony
      Date and time
      October 07, 2013, 8:39AM
      • Really? According to the officials he wasn't even the best half in this match !!

        TIC of Commonsense Boulevarde
        Date and time
        October 07, 2013, 10:23AM
        • TIC of Nonsense Boulevard, DCE is a Queenslander so what's your point? In the big games at the end of the season Pearce has been head and shoulders over Reynolds

          Date and time
          October 07, 2013, 11:15AM
          • Pearce did not have a spectacular game in the grand final, it was mostly the Roosters forwards who did the bulk of the work but I think Moloney was far better than Pearce on the day. But lets face it, the forward pass from Moloney was the turning point of the game. It surprised me that Pearce did not perform better behind the work of the Roosters forwards and that tells me that he is not the best half back in NSW.

            There was no brilliant effort of any one individual player that allowed the Roosters to win the game, it was probably the most team oriented win in Grand Finals over the past few years. Despite all the high level games Pearce played this season he still hasn't shown me that he is worthy of NSW selection in next years Origin series.

            Date and time
            October 08, 2013, 9:38AM
            • Maybe you should think about the role of half a little more.

              Pearce contributed where DCE didn't - steered the team. Manly had advantage early in both halves. He & team under big pressure. He got best of his men. Played at tempo, won territory through smart direction & accurate kicking. Zero errors, good runs, good passing, aggressive defence on Foran & Snake. Knew the Roosters had to take some chances & not rely on 1-phase bash & barge & he played the right balance of simple plays through middle, with a bit of risk.

              DCE was too much a one-man band. All playmakers and runners around him suffered. He didn't steer the team. Check player stats - they're telling. Manly should've won, but they didn't & this was the difference.

              Big game results reflect full team of 17 - but the half has to deliver team direction, more than one-out individual flashes. Pearce has always steered the team. None deserved the win more than him. Terrific all season for the Roosters. Lifted a level under pressure (much piled on himself). Blitzed finals. Premier!
              'Nuff said.

              Chook Fan
              Date and time
              October 08, 2013, 2:17PM
          • There is something truly wonderous and beautiful about watching your kids do something you did not or could not do.

            My three boys have a lot to choose from in achieving such feats.

            Joe the expat
            The Hague
            Date and time
            October 08, 2013, 8:57PM

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