Since signing with the nib Newcastle Knights in 2017 and accepting the team’s sole captaincy in 2019, Mitchell Pearce has cemented himself as a community leader and true-blue Novocastrian.
So, when we were given the chance to sit down with Mitch, the first thing we wanted to know was what it takes to become a Knight – and it’s much more than exceptional footy skills.
The Check Up (TCU): What does being a Newcastle Knight mean to you?
Mitchell Pearce: The Knights is a great club. It’s a privilege to be named Captain and to play for such a proud club in a great town.
Growing up, with Dad playing for the Tigers, I was almost a Tigers fan by association; but, I use to love watching the Johns’ boys (Andrew and Matthew) in the early days. Being a young halfback, I definitely watched the Knights closely, especially because of the 97’ grand final.
Our family used to head up to South West Rocks to go camping every year. I know it’s a little out of the region, but I remember seeing the Knights supporter flags up in Taree and at the local RSL. Even back then, I felt like I had a close affiliation with the club.
TCU: How do you think you embody some of the characteristics of a Newcastle Knight?
Mitch: I play tough and I always try and give 100%. It’s important for me to work hard and be very passionate around the boys and on the field.
TCU: Have you grown since you started your journey in 2018 with the Newcastle Knights?
Mitch: Yes, definitely. Over the last few years, I’ve tried to keep evolving with my leadership. Coming from the Roosters to the Knights was a different kind of challenge footy-wise, because I’d come from an experienced, winning team to a young team that didn’t have the years of experience behind them.
It was a challenge, but I had to adjust to evolve my game; A big part of that has been in changing up my leadership style, so that I can be the best I can be for myself and the team.
TCU: What are some of the things you love about Newcastle?
Mitch: I really enjoy the pace and the quieter life; it’s a nice change from when I lived in Sydney.
And like most Novocastrians, I love the coastline and the beaches.
TCU: What’s your go-to pregame meal?
Mitch: I love a good pasta from Don Beppino’s Italian restaurant here in Merewether. I’m a regular visitor there and I’m always buying pasta before a game.
TCU: How have you found the last few months dealing with COVID-19?
Mitch: I’ve been focussing on making it really enjoyable. I’m trying to live with
less - with all of the restrictions - and slowing everything down in life.
TCU: What’s the go-to piece of gym equipment you’ve been using during quarantine?
Mitch: I love the barbell with weights. There is a fair bit of variety and you can do a lot with them in a backyard weight session.
Related: Mitch Pearce takes you through a 10-minute stretch routine you can do at home.
TCU: What’s the one thing you’re most excited to do once all the restrictions are lifted?
Mitch: Marry my fiancé, Kristen.
TCU: What would your fairy-tale season look like this year?
Mitch: Easy. The Knights to win the competition would hands-down be the ultimate end to our season.