NSW Origin playmakers get down to business
May 19, 2012 - 4:29PM
NSW playmaking duo Mitchell Pearce and Robbie Farah have vowed to seize the moment in Wednesday night’s State of Origin series opener against Queensland.
Pearce and Farah sense the start of something special for the Blues and are relishing the chance to finally team up together in rugby league’s greatest cauldron.
It’s a partnership the pair have been yearning to develop for some time, with a dominant first-half display for City against Country last month simply reinforcing their belief that they could be good for one another and the Blues.
“We played together last year in the City-Country game and formed a really good combination,” said Farah, who has had to bide his time behind Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis since 2009.
"From day one this year when we got into camp with the City side, it felt like that we’d been playing together for years.
"I think that showed especially the first half of that game that we really struck a good combination there.
“From that day, we stayed in touch texting each other, saying we both hoped we’d get the chance to play together in Origin and continue the combination we’d formed and now we’ve got that chance.”
The dynamic duo might not have the years of understanding that their Queensland rivals enjoy and have some catching up to do to match the combination of Maroons No.7 Cooper Cronk and hooker Cameron Smith, who will look to transfer their well-versed Melbourne partnership onto the Origin stage.
But Farah’s creativity out of dummy-half should allow Pearce to focus on his strengths - his running and organisational play - while the Wests Tigers skipper is hoping he won’t be required to be the dominant presence he is forced to be at NRL level.
One of the criticisms levelled at Farah is suggestions he wasn’t suited to Origin football and that he needed to be a central playmaking figure.
But Farah claims he only plays like that at the Tigers out of necessity, with the lack of a link man between him and five-eighth Benji Marshall.
“To be able to play with a genuine seven like Mitchell allows me to concentrate on my game as a nine and just do that job to the best of my ability,” Farah said.
With six Origin games under his belt, Pearce says he needs to deliver on rugby league’s biggest stage, but admits he’s never been better placed to do so.
“I remember the first couple of games when you come in, you’d be scared on the way in not really knowing what to expect and a bit nervous about it all,” Pearce said.
"I definitely feel a bit more relaxed - you get to know all the guys and know what it’s about.
“Now I really just want to concentrate on staying relaxed and preparing as well as I can to win the game - that’s what we’re here for, no point just turning up I suppose.”