YOU'RE entitled to have an opinion of Mitchell Pearce.
He knows every rugby league fan has a view on him, both as a person and player - but that doesn't mean he has to listen.
And he won't be.
Reflecting on a difficult and possibly career-defining 12 months, Pearce has a new outlook on both life and his career.
The 27-year-old has been a punching bag for angry Blues fans for nearly a decade but since returning to the game more focused than ever before, Pearce is determined to learn from his mistakes.
In a candid interview, the Roosters star revealed that since the infamous Australia Day video went viral, he's had plenty of time to reflect and grow as a person.
And almost a year later, a more relaxed Pearce has revealed one of his biggest life lessons has been not letting public opinion weigh him down.
"Being in the public eye, everything's highlighted a lot more," Pearce said.
"What have I learnt? Probably just to let stuff go. I wouldn't have stressed so much about other opinions and got caught up in it all.
"If you just focus on yourself, things just take care of themselves."
Having been slogging it out in the heat since November, Pearce is eagerly awaiting the start of season 2017.
While repaying the faith the Tricolours showed him is his primary focus, Origin is never far from his mind and as expected, his name is always in that conversation.
"Origin's been a big circus for me for a long time personally," Pearce said.
"I went in there young and a lot has gone on but I'd like to get back in there and play some Origin footy.
"For me, I'm focused on being the best that I can be and I know that I've got the ability to go well in all those grades and all those levels and achieve what I want, because I'm focused."
For a long time, Pearce has been the scapegoat of fans and media for the Blues' poor performances.
And as a half, he's the first to admit that rep football is all about delivering. That's what makes the champions like Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith so great. They always deliver.
His record isn't a pretty one: four wins and 11 losses in the sky blue but it's something he knows he can change.
Enough time has passed that Pearce believes he has identified where he went wrong and how to fix it.
"Life is about delivering and winning and there's a lot of games that I haven't won," Pearce said.
"I don't think I'm to blame for all of that either. There's times when I was young and you play against an army of geniuses. There's some games as a half where you're getting pumped by 20 before you even get the ball.
"They've all been learning curves but if I could turn back time I'd like to have my time again and go in with a different head space and a bit more belief if I could change things. But that's not life.
"You have to keep learning and moving on and I've learnt a lot over the last 10 years of my career and especially over the last year, I've learnt a lot about myself. You grow up and mature in your late 20s.
"I'm happy in my life, that's the main thing and I feel like I still have a lot to give at all those levels."
Following an eight-game ban last year due to that drunken video, Pearce was overlooked by Laurie Daley, a big supporter of his, for the 2016 Origin series.
It was the most difficult season of his career but he managed to finish the year in brilliant form, which landed him a place in the Prime Minister's XIII.
With a clear head and his love for football as strong as ever, Pearce has drawn up a list of goals for 2017 - which starts with the Roosters and ends with rep footy.
"I've always trained hard and played hard but there's no doubt I've been caught up in some distractions over the years," he said.
"Every player's the same, if they do that, their footy suffers and I'm fully focused on my footy.
"I've got a couple of little goals - those rewards with rep footy and that type of stuff will come with being consistent and the best I can be.
"The goal is to focus on footy and making footy a priority and when I do that, everything else just flows."
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