For whatever you think he did wrong – the losses, the dropped balls, and even the girl in the yellow dress – Mitchell Pearce today asks for your forgiveness.
The state of NSW left the prodigious playmaker behind last year, when they ended a historic run of outs that has so often been pinned on the back of the Roosters halfback and threatened to place him in representative purgatory.
But Blues centre Michael Jennings says his teammate is seeking a pardon on Wednesday night, an opportunity to restore the faith.
“People need to forget and forgive. Everyone makes mistakes,” Jennings told AAP.
“Fans need to still be behind him, he’s going to put on a blue jumper.
“He wants to redeem his position and really say that he’s sorry for the stuff that he’s done and that he deserves to be in the position he’s in now.”
Pearce had played in the four previous Origin series’ without a win, before he was fined and stood down for a nightclub incident last May.
Now, for the first time in his career, Pearce will line-up in the unfamiliar position of five-eighth.
But he certainly won’t be a stranger to the outcries that came from both his axing from the squad last year and his lack of success in the Origin arena.
In fact, Jennings says his clubmate has grown quite accustomed to the scrutiny that came with being the face of the state’s losing run against Queensland.
“He’s the kind of player that used to take that stuff to heart, so this selection means a lot to him,” he said.
“To come from where he was last year and being snubbed, then getting called back up.
“He’s worked so hard and he’s always known that he has it in him. He knows the responsibility now. He’s matured.
“All the boys are excited for him.
“We can’t wait to get on the paddock – but he’s more excited than anyone else because he’s back in the team.”
Tonight’s match will be the 13th appearance in the sky blue for both Pearce and Jennings, more than any other player in the line-up.