NSW centre Michael Jennings believes Sydney Roosters team-mates Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney will use their axing from the Origin side as motivation to improve their performances for the premiers this season.
Jennings and winger Daniel Tupou were the only Roosters players named in a Blues team which two weeks ago had five representatives of the club pencilled in as certainties.
Pearce's arrest at Kings Cross and subsequent suspension from last weekend's match against North Queensland cost not only him but also Maloney their places as NSW coach Laurie Daley opted to go with the Canterbury scrumbase duo of Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds, while Test secondrower Boyd Cordner has been ruled out of the Origin series with an ankle injury.
Coincidentally, the Roosters play the Bulldogs on Friday night and Jennings said it would be an opportunity for Pearce and Maloney to bounce back.
"They will take it to heart and they will be pretty devo that they are not here at the moment but at the same time they are going to do everything they can to play their best footy this week," Jennings said.
"I think their main focus now is just to play the best they can. Obviously with Junior [Pearce] coming back he needs to redeem himself and get back to playing the best footy he can.
"It is sad to see that he is not getting the opportunity here in Origin and has missed out but that is what he has got to deal with. He has made the mistake, he knows himself what he has done and he has just got to redeem himself by playing good footy and get back into it."
Daley confirmed the pair had been in the side until Pearce's arrest after a drinking session with Roosters team-mates but said the form of Hodkinson and Reynolds was also a factor in his decision.
‘‘I have stated all along I would have loved to have kept guys from last year’s series but performance would dictate that,’’ Daley said. ‘‘The Roosters haven’t been travelling that well, they have had their issues and their halves are not playing as well as they would like to.
‘‘When you take a lot of things into consideration they (Hodkinson and Reynolds) are in form and they are playing in a winning team as Mitch and Jimmy Maloney were last year.’’
Meanwhile, Jennings said Cordner was disappointed to be ruled out of Origin.
"That is pretty tough to see Boyd injure his leg. He is pretty rattled and disappointed that he is not here but he has just got to get surgery and move on," he said.
The story Michael Jennings says Mitchell Pearce will bounce back first appeared on The Age.