Finch: Pressure on Mitchell all external
ALL eyes will be on Mitchell Pearce on Wednesday night as he makes his return to the State of Origin arena.
Pearce is the form player in the NRL this season and is the favourite to win the Dally M medal, but that hasn't stopped people questioning his ability to lead the Blues to victory.
You'll hear plenty of 'experts' and commentators talking about the pressure that Pearce will be under tonight, but that pressure is all external.
Pearce won't be feeling any pressure; he's been here, he's done it before and he's in the best form of his career.
Pearce is a different player than he was in 2017 when he made his last appearance in a sky blue jersey; he comes into a new side and is playing against a different Queensland team.
This is no disrespect to the current Maroons side, but they don't have the likes of Cam Smith, Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston, all future Immortals, like the sides Pearce played during in his previous Origin appearances.
The thing I admire most about Pearce is his willingness to own the result, not matter theoutcome.
Pearce has played 17 State of Origin games and while he may have only won five of them, he's never taken a backwards step in the arena.
Pearce doesn't make excuses and he always gives 100 per cent when he walks across the white stripe.
He's a survivor.
Having his good mate James Maloney beside him will help Pearce immensely on Wednesday night.
When Pearce and Maloney linked at the Roosters they won a premierships and walked away with three minor premierships.
Pearce and Maloney are both hot-headed players and they both want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line.
How they share that role will determine the end result in the decider.
Both players have great running and passing games and have some serious strike weapons beside them in James Tedesco, Jack Wighton and Tom Trbojevic.
If the Blues pack can lay a platform for Maloney and Pearce to play off the back of, they have the ability to blow the Maroons off the park.
Sport, and rugby league in particular, is littered with great redemption stories and tonight Pearce will have the pen in his hand ready to write his own chapter.