Pearce given shot at Origin redemption

Mitchell Pearce speaks to reporters after his late call-up for the Blues in State of Origin III. (AAP)

Mitchell Pearce is set to be rushed into NSW's State of Origin camp after Nathan Cleary failed in his bid to be cleared of an ankle injury.

After being savaged in the court of public opinion and told his only chance of touching the State of Origin shield was to get a selfie with the Wally Lewis statue, Mitchell Pearce has got his shot at redemption.

The oft-maligned playmaker on Wednesday night arrived in NSW camp after Nathan Cleary was ruled out because of an ankle injury.

In another sensational twist in the Blues' preparation, Cleary was scratched after attempting to run and prove his fitness for next week's Origin decider.

Now, after seven failed attempts to win a series and being a state's whipping boy for more than a decade, Pearce will get his chance to finally win a series.

After debuting in Origin at 19 and at the time hailed as the future of the Blues, he was a part of losing sides in 2008, 2010-13, 2015 and 2017 and on most occasions was fingered as part of the problem.

Since 2006, NSW have won just two series - in 2014 and 2018 - with Pearce left out both years.

During the Maroons' game three thumping in 2015, Queensland great Johnathan Thurston famously sledged Pearce that he should "get a photo with the Wally (Lewis) statue (outside Suncorp Stadium) because that's the closest he's going to get to holding the (Origin) shield."

Rather than be overawed by the Origin arena and paralysed by his poor representative record, Pearce said he was excited at the prospect of finally achieving something he had desired since he was a boy.

"I felt like it was glorified sometimes, like it is after Origin, and sometimes I haven't delivered," Pearce said.

"Origin is about winning and it'll be about winning next week.

"If we win next week I'm sure there will be a nice photo in the paper on Thursday and plenty of positivity and if I lose, I'm sure I'll get the blame. It's part and parcel.

"I have some unfinished business, I'm looking forward to doing my job for the team."

Pearce will now team up with former Sydney Roosters halves partner James Maloney, alongside whom he won the 2013 grand final.

Pearce was in consideration for games one and two but was forced to step aside because of groin injuries.

He will now end his two-year exile from the side as the Blues attempt to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 2005.

Pearce admitted to being taken aback by his call-up on Wednesday afternoon and had believed he would be watching the game at home from the couch.

"I was preparing for the Warriors up there (in Newcastle), we were just about to do a field session and Brownie (Knights coach Nathan Brown) came in and said he got a call from (NSW coach Brad Fittler) and then I went and called Freddy," Pearce said.

"I was super excited, I thought the boat had passed after the team was announced the other day."

Source AAP

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