Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Newcastle Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce has been the talk of the town lately following heavy links to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; however, it seems another club is set to throw their hat in the ring for the veteran.
It seems the Canberra Raiders have taken an interest in Pearce, according to Caden Helmers of the Canberra Times, the Raiders are currently discussing whether or not to pursue the former New South Wales State of Origin representative.
“The Canberra Times can reveal Pearce’s name has been mentioned internally at Raiders headquarters, but the club is yet to make a genuine play given he is still on contract with the Newcastle Knights until the end of the 2022 NRL season,” stated Helmers.
“Any talks with the Raiders would hinge on Newcastle’s plans for Pearce.
“The 306-game veteran is one of a number of halfbacks whose names have been floated, however Stuart is yet to speak to Pearce about any potential move.”
Canberra has of course been without a first choice halfback since George Williams left for Warrington earlier this season, with Sam Williams taking his place.
Although Williams was not the Green Machine’s first choice, he has done a good job for the club whenever called upon and deserves a shot at the number seven jersey next season.
In 2021, Williams has scored four tries, assisted five, made three line-break assists, averaged 225 kicking metres per game and made 196 tackles for an efficiency rate of 85.6% in 12 games.
Mitchell Pearce on the other hand has played just nine games in 2021 due to injury, scoring two tries, assisting seven, making seven line-break assists, averaging 309.3 running metres per game and making 171 tackles for an efficiency rate of 93.4%.
Both players can perform the same role for the Raiders as game controller to a similar effect, with Pearce bringing leadership to the table, but it must be asked, is said leadership worth pursuing him over Williams?
If the Raiders do try to bring Pearce in for season 2022, then they will have to strike a deal with Newcastle for them to approve his release.