A teenage Mitchell Peace was tipped for big things when he debuted in the NRL in 2007 but off-field controversies have threatened his reputation as one of footy’s most skilful playmakers.
The son of rugby league royalty Wayne “Junior” Pearce, Mitchell quickly made his mark at the Roosters and in just his second year of first grade found himself playing halfback for the NSW Origin side.
Pearce’s talent has always been undeniable but his decision-making away from the paddock has, at times, left the Newcastle No. 7 open to criticism.
He’s in the headlines again after his wedding was called off at the last minute because his fiancee Kristin Scott reportedly found out about “flirty” text messages being exchanged between Pearce and a young female employee at the Knights.
It’s just the latest in a long line of reasons Pearce’s footy hasn’t always done the talking.
THE WOMAN IN THE YELLOW DRESS
Late nights in Sydney party district Kings Cross rarely end well for footballers — as Pearce discovered in 2014.
The then-Roosters star was arrested and issued with an infringement notice for failing to leave a licensed premises after being argumentative with police officers when they attended a nightclub to deal with complaints about a patron.
Pearce reportedly made advances to a female in the venue who, in the aftermath, became known as the “woman in the yellow dress”. She didn’t appreciate his approaches and alerted police inside the club.
CCTV captured the interaction and footage aired on Channel 9 also showed Pearce being escorted outside and led away in handcuffs.
He was banned from Kings Cross for 48 hours but faced no other charges or action from police, and the woman declined to take the matter any further.
Still, it was a black mark next to Pearce’s name and he was fined $20,000 and banned for one match by the Roosters.
Pearce fell foul of law enforcement in 2014.Source:Channel 9
AUSTRALIA DAY WITH A DOG
Pearce’s most infamous scandal came on Australia Day 2016 when he was filmed simulating a sex act with a dog in another person’s apartment.
Footage emerged of a drunken Pearce trying to kiss a female, who rejected his advances by saying she was a “lesbian”, then pretending to perform a lewd act with a dog.
“I’ll f*** that dog, I don’t give a f***, I don’t have a sexuality,” Pearce is heard saying in the video.
Pearce was slapped with an enormous $125,000 fine and suspended for eight games as the NRL came down hard on the misbehaving superstar.
The incident prompted Pearce to admit he had a problem with alcohol, and he flew to Thailand for a month-long stint in rehab to get his life back on track.
Last year the NRL admitted it “overcooked” the punishment it dished out to Pearce for the embarrassing scandal — which included the largest monetary penalty any player has ever received.
Pearce was making the front page for all the wrong reasons.Source:The Daily Telegraph
He admitted to having a problem with alcohol.Source:AAP
The Daily Telegraph first reported Pearce’s wedding at Byron Bay had been called off after he was caught sending text messages to a young female employee at the Knights.
The publication later reported Pearce faces being dumped as Newcastle captain, with CEO Phil Gardner and coach Adam O’Brien disappointed at the 31-year-old’s behaviour.
“The club is crying out for better leadership. This doesn’t help us because the coach has worked hard to lift standards over the last 12 months,” a source told The Telegraph.
Pearce and Scott started dating in 2019 and earlier this year the footballer spoke glowingly about her influence in helping him settle down.
“I’m feeling very settled in my life. She’s a beautiful girl and I’m looking forward to sharing our future together,” he said.
When Pearce proposed in April, both gushed about their relationship on social media.
“My forever. Best moment of my life,” Pearce wrote on Instagram.
Scott added: “Life has just fallen into place. I cannot wait to be your wife.”
But this latest scandal has put their future together in jeopardy.
Pearce and Scott were enjoying life together.Source:Supplied
Now the glamour couple’s future is murky.Source:Getty Images
Pearce was routinely mocked for much of his career for failing to deliver his state the Origin shield, winning just five of his first 18 games for NSW.
He returned to be part of the Blues’ victorious 2019 campaign but Newcastle supporters are now waiting for the veteran of nearly 300 NRL games to take the club to the next level.
Pearce left the Roosters after a decade on sour terms when the tri-colours dumped him and recruited Cooper Cronk to play halfback and although the Knights have endured a lean run during their recent rebuilding phase, patience is running thin.
Pearce is captain and on a deal worth $1 million a season, but will need to take a major pay cut to re-sign with the club. With the likes of Kalyn Ponga, David Klemmer, Jacob Saifiti and Bradman Best in the squad, big things are expected sooner rather than later from the Knights.
However, the most recent headlines surrounding Pearce might make fans nervous their halfback isn’t the man to lead them to the promised land — a first premiership since 2001.
Pearce is under pressure to deliver success to Newcastle.Source:Getty Images
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