Newcastle captain Mitchell Pearce has reaffirmed his commitment to the Knights amid contract rumours, declaring he has confidence in re-signing beyond next season while hoping to have a “career defining” year in 2021.
Pearce was linked over the off-season to a return to the Sydney Roosters, where he spent 11 seasons and won a premiership in 2013.
The veteran halfback has previously distanced himself from the Roosters rumours – a stance he continued at Knights training on Thursday.
Instead, Pearce is focused on building a bright future in Newcastle as he works towards a contract extension.
“It (talks) have been really open with Adam (O’Brien) and the guys who are in charge of that stuff, so I’m really comfortable with where we are at moving forward,” Pearce said.
“My focus is just on setting the example at training over the next two weeks, and I’m sure all that stuff will work itself out.
“From my point of view, I had nothing to say as far as the Roosters, other clubs or even about the Knights thing (contract).
“There was a lot of talk, but I didn’t say a whole lot.
Fresh from an off-season break, Newcastle captain Mitchell Pearce is primed for a big 2021 season for the Knights. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I love the club here, I’m contracted for this year, and I’ll be doing everything I can to get us that premiership.”
Newcastle improved last season but ultimately failed on their ultimate goal of winning a title after being bundled out in the first week of the finals.
Pearce was solid for the Knights, but he knows the Novocastrians need more from him as the team’s chief playmaker if they are to become a genuine premiership threat.
“I hope it is career defining because if we can get what we are out to achieve, then it will definitely be career defining,” he said.
“I love having big goals and setting big goals. It makes me motivated, even as a group.
“The higher you set the bar, the better you will play.
“It depends on how you look at pressure, and for us I think pressure is a great thing.
“We need to have high goals, and we need to train hard to achieve them.”
Pearce believes consistency is the difference between the Knights emerging as a top-four team next season.
“Because we have got a great squad – there are no issues there,” he said.
“We’ve got Tyson (Frizell) coming in who is going to be great for the team.
“There are a lot of younger boys here who are new to first grade, but as an older boy it is our responsibility to get in and train hard for them.
“I love training hard, but with the way the pre-season is this year, we’ve only got six or seven sessions before we are on holidays again before we start up again in the new year.
“The big thing for an older player is getting into the gym and getting your strength up.”
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