Mitchell Pearce has played 130 games for the Roosters. Photo: Getty Images
FRESH after signing a four-year contract extension with the Sydney Roosters, Mitchell Pearce has declared his intention to one day take over from Anthony Minichiello as club captain.
Pearce, who allegedly had a falling-out with former coach Brian Smith, said the change of structure played a huge role in his decision to remain loyal to the club he joined as a 16-year-old.
''I really like Robbo, he's been great from day one,'' he said of coach Trent Robinson.
''He's an easy coach to get along with. He was a big part of why I wanted to stay, for sure.''
Since leading the Roosters from wooden spooners to grand finalists in the space of 12 months in 2010, Pearce has had little to cheer about on the football field.
His off-field issues with Smith, as well as a well-documented party life, were compounded by the fact his club was struggling to put wins on the board.
The 23-year-old admitted he was unhappy at times last year but has regained his passion and enthusiasm under Robinson.
''To be honest the whole thing blew up a bit weird,'' Pearce said of last year.
''I was definitely a bit down at times, probably brought on by myself. We weren't going great and every player goes through that at different points.
''Mine was a bit more publicised at the time for whatever reason. I'm in a very happy place at the moment.''
While there have been no guarantees from Robinson about the prospect of taking over as captain as early as next year - depending on Minichiello's retirement - Pearce made no secret of his desire to take on the role.
''I'd like to think so,'' he said when asked if he saw himself as a future captain.
''It's obviously up to the coach and what he feels fits best. I'm really enjoying trying to learn in that area, it's not something you learn overnight, it's a process.
''Mini's been great … he sets the standard and I've learnt a lot off him as far as leadership so far. I think that's an area that I'd like to keep putting the effort into and maybe one day be the captain.''
Robinson and Pearce, who is part of the senior leadership group, admitted this year was too soon for the NSW halfback to take on the captain duties.
But the new Roosters coach has big plans for Pearce at the club and said it was up to the No.7 to prove he's worthy of the role when it becomes available.
''I see him as a leader, no doubt about that,'' Robinson said.
''I think some people questioned me when I first said that back in October. It's up to him to now show it off the field and on the field, that he wants to go that extra step at some point in his contract and career.''