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NRL Mitchell Pearce sidelined for four months but Knights players say season far from over

Knights players declare season not dead despite Pearce blow TweetFacebookNewcastle Knights players have vowed to rally behind devastated skipper Mitchell Pearce but have declared their season is not done with despite losing their chief playmakerfor up to four months through injury.
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The club’s worst fears were realised on Sunday when scans revealed Pearcehadruptured his pectoral muscle in the Knights dramatic 22-20 come-from-behind win over Wests Tigers in Tamworth on Saturday night.

With his right arm in a sling as he prepared to board the team bus after the game,Pearcewas not optimisticthe news would befavourable, telling theNewcastle Herald:“I’ve never done one before but it doesn’t look good.”

The four month prognosis means Pearce will miss the majority of the season and it has cruelled his Origin chances.

It is alsodevastating for a team that has structured the majority of its attack around their marquee signing, who has been in great early season form for his new club.

Knights’ head of football Darren Mooney said Pearce is expected to undergo surgery this week.

“It is devastating for Mitchell and a massiveblow for our club,” Mooney said.

Knights coach Nathan Brown said he is shattered for his co-captain.

“Mitchell just loves playing so it is going to be really tough for him and from the town’s point of view, they have a vested interest in him as well because he has helped us get a lot of good results,”Brown said.

“He’s come here as the biggest signing the club has made for a lot of years and he got off to a great start soto miss such a long period is pretty shattering for everyone but particularly Mitchell.

“It’s now up to the other boys to work really hard and give it a good shot so it is worthwhile Mitchell coming back in round 22 or 23.

“I’d like to think with the experience some of our younger halves got over the previous few years, we should be able to try and overcome these things.

“All we need is the group to work hard together and each time you go into a game, you’ve got to believe you are a good chance of winning.”

Pearce’s team-mates, while feeling for their skipper, claimed“the show must go on”.

“Pearcey’s going to be a big loss but it’s a great opportunity for other people and myself to really step up,”fullback Kalyn Ponga said.

“We’ve got the players here that can come in and if they do their jobs, that’s all we can expect.

“I thought Cogs [Jack Cogger] went really well and when Pearcey went off, he took control and said lets play footy.”

Winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall said the win over the Tigers was bitter-sweet for Pearce.

“He was really happy we got the win but you could tell he was very devastated after the game,”he said.

“But the show goes on you know. We can’t be sad about that because we’ve still got a lot of the season and we have taken a lot of steps forward and we should be confident of where we are sitting.”

Backrower Mitch Barnett claimed the squad needs to really step up in the wake of the Pearce injury.

“We have to prepare without him,”he said.

“We’ve got Lamby [Brock Lamb], Connor [Watson] is not too far away, Cogs was good tonight and obviously JB [Jamie Buhrer].

“Depending on who we go with, it could change our style of play but it’s not the end of the world. The boys are really confident and we are going to win games off the back of our defence.”

Backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon said the coach has some great options to choose from.

“You feel for Pearcey but we have to move forward and we have the boys to get the job done,”he said.

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