Reunite Pearce and Maloney in Origin: Mini
NSW great Anthony Minichiello believes Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney select themselves as the Blues' State of Origin halves pairing this year.
A State of Origin reunion may loom for Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney after NSW great Anthony Minichiello claimed the pair "select themselves" as this year's Blues halves.
Pearce last combined with Maloney in the 2013 series won 2-1 by Queensland. The Roosters playmaker has never featured in a winning series for NSW since making his debut as a 19-year-old back in 2008.
He was overlooked for NSW's 2014 breakthrough triumph, the Blues' only series win in 11 years.
Four years after the pair last played for NSW together, Minichiello believes the time is right for Pearce after their stellar start to the 2017 NRL season.
Pearce and Maloney helped Minichiello's Roosters win the 2013 premiership and the NSW great believed it would not take long for the pair to click again for the Blues.
"That is a massive factor. To win a premiership in this day and age is very hard," Minichiello told Fox Sports' NRL Tonight.
"Mitchell and James were there when we won it in 2013, steering the side around and they did it perfectly.
"If those two players continue their form they select themselves."
Pearce is back in the Origin mix after emerging from a troubled 2016 to reclaim his best form for the Roosters.
He was not considered for NSW last year after copping an eight-week ban for his Australia Day meltdown.
"I think he is in a great headspace," Minichiello said.
"It is the clearest it has been in his career after speaking with him.
"He is running the side well at the moment and has a good partnership with Luke Keary - I feel that he warrants selection.
"I think Laurie will need to look at the combinations but you need people playing in form."
That would rule out incumbent NSW pivot Matt Moylan, according to Minichiello.
The Panthers captain is battling to find his feet after returning from a club-imposed one-week ban for an alcohol-related breach.
Moylan replaced an injured Adam Reynolds to join Maloney in the NSW halves for last year's dead rubber, but Minichiello said it would be hard to pick him on current form.
"The club has had a tough start to the season," Minichiello said. "You see guys playing with no confidence.
"I watched them to see if they would bounce back from being dropped and it wasn't a good performance."
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