Mitchell Pearce has bounced back from the toughest period of his life to become a player who can lead the Sydney Roosters to back-to-back NRL titles, coach Trent Robinson says.
Back in May, Pearce's Kings Cross arrest led to his axing from the NSW State of Origin team and he was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Blues finally broke Queensland's eight-year stranglehold over the interstate series.
But instead of wallowing in self pity, Robinson said the star halfback brought it upon himself to drag the club out of the crisis.
After struggling for consistency mid-season, Pearce has been a key figure in the Roosters' five straight wins (their best streak of the season) heading into Thursday's final round showdown with arch rivals South Sydney.
''Anyone that knows Mitchell knows that he is a man with complete honesty,'' Robinson said.
''It doesn't mean that he is perfect, as we have seen. But we all trust him and it is hard for a lot of people around him to see the criticism he's copped over many years at different times.
''But his ability to deal with that has been outstanding, especially since the drama.
''He is the one that has helped everyone around him deal with it.
''I have said it many times but Pearcey is a guy that we can trust.''
Robinson said Pearce's ability to analyse the game away through video was outstanding and led training, both in fitness and in skills.
''He is a footy player, he is an intense footy player when he thinks about it and that is what we want in a leader.
''We don't want one of those ones that leaves the ground first or doesn't really think about it or doesn't watch footy.
''He is an avid footy watcher and that's what allows him to come out the other side, because he does think about his game so much.''
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