Just off screen when Mitchell Pearce was disgracing himself in THAT video, is the man who will take his place in the Roosters halves. But for NSW, finding a playmaking replacement won't be so easy.
The Roosters are likely to field one of the youngest halves duos in the league if, as expected, Pearce is handed a hefty suspension. The glamour club was already expecting a shake-up of its spine due to the departures of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and James Maloney, replaced by Blake Ferguson and Jackson Hastings respectively. However, the tri-colours will need to turn to another young playmaker, Jayden Nikorima, after the Australia Day incident.
Mitchell Pearce's career should be over: NRL advisor
Professor Catharine Lumby has worked with the NRL on gender issues for over a decade and says Mitchell Pearce must be stood down. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.
Nikorima, poached from Brisbane as insurance, was one of three Roosters in a private residence on Australia Day alongside fellow Broncos buy Dale Copley and Pearce when the Roosters co-captain was caught in a series of lewd acts. Hastings and Nikorima have played together at representative level and offer at least a temporary solution for the club, but for Blues coach Laurie Daley a standout substitute is yet to emerge
Pearce hasn't won an Origin series during his 15 interstate appearances and the latest incident will likely rob him of the opportunity to atone. Aidan Sezer, Dylan Walker, Josh Reynolds, Adam Reynolds, Luke Keary, Blake Austin, James Maloney and Matt Moylan are among the contenders to come under consideration should a change be required.
"The NSWRL is aware that the Sydney Roosters and the NRL are investigating an incident involving Mitchell Pearce and until the outcome of those investigations it would be inappropriate for the NSWRL to make a comment on the incident," a NSWRL spokesperson said.
Even if he is allowed to play again in 2016 – and despite the fact he is contracted for the following season – there were already rumblings this would be Pearce's last year at Bondi Junction. The disharmony at South Sydney – particularly speculation Keary and Reynolds are unsettled at Redfern – hasn't gone unnoticed at their arch rivals and Pearce's latest indiscretion could fast-track the search for a replacement.
The Roosters enlisted rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns to help with the halves transition and there were suggestions he arrived back from a Bali holiday just as news of the Pearce incident broke.
While the Roosters' major sponsor, Steggles, is expected to stick solid, the club could yet pay a cost for the negative headlines. It's understood a shorts sponsor is yet to be locked in, a property that could be valued at up to $200,000.
Several bookies reacted to the news by easing the Roosters' premiership odds, even though Pearce was yet to be sanctioned.
The Roosters are without a CEO or a COO following the departure of respected administrator Brian Canavan to the Gold Coast Titans, prompting chairman Nick Politis to fly back from Melbourne to deal with the crisis.