Rabbitohs Luke Keary.
Rabbitohs Luke Keary. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Maloney clone can fix the Sydney Roosters

RUGBY LEAGUE: What do you do when you lose James Maloney to a rival team?

You find the next best thing. A clone, if you will.

That's why 12 months after Maloney left Bondi for the beaches of Cronulla - the Roosters are excited to have Luke Keary on their books.

Leaving fierce rivals South Sydney for a fresh start with the tricolours, Keary shares plenty of traits to those of Maloney.

Having shared the halves with several players last season, Pearce is eager to line up alongside Keary and get back to a style of play which saw him win a premiership in 2013.

"He reminds me a lot of Jimmy Maloney actually," Pearce told foxsports.com.au of Keary.

"Jimmy is a really good runner, as everyone knows. He's got good speed and takes the line on and is a runner of the ball naturally and Luke's better than I thought watching him.

"He's very quick off the mark and has great instincts and that support play Jimmy has, they're very similar that way."

Keary, 24, is a runner. A player with natural ability who plays what he sees.

After playing three games off the bench midyear following the emergence of Cody Walker and Greg Inglis' dalliance in the halves, Keary was in need of a sea change.

Breaking 18 tackles in 17 games last year, the No. 6 will not only compliment Pearce but take some of the kick pressure off his shoulders.


Martin Taupau (right) of the Sea Eagles is tackled by Luke Keary of the Rabbitohs during the round 5 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Brookvale Oval in Sydney on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Martin Taupau (right) of the Sea Eagles is tackled by Luke Keary of the Rabbitohs PAUL MILLER

Pearce said that rather than playing to a set structure where they control an edge each, they will be able to roam and share their duties.

"We've got a few things we've worked out but I think our styles will suit each other," Pearce said of the partnership.

"You don't sort of know how it's going to come together when you first sign a player but it has and it's been really silky at training.

"We can enjoy sharing each other's role and the kicking game will really improve."

Last season Jackson Hastings, Jayden Nikorima, Ryan Matterson and Connor Watson all spent time in the halves.

Part of that was due to an eight week suspension Pearce was serving as a result of an off-field incident but the always evolving halves combinations was a major distraction for the side.

Pearce wears the blame. The desire to make amends of the start of last season is a major driver for the halfback.

"I was happy with how I finished the end of last season. I thought I was playing really good footy," Pearce said.

"We had a lot of instability last year. Losing (forwards) Boyd (Cordner), Jared (Waerea-Hargreaves) and myself at the start of last year, we pretty much had seven premiership winning, dominant players out of the team.

"We put in blokes that had only played 10 games. We got criticised for the way we performed and rightly so but there were reasons for that we learnt a lot from last year and the boys who debuted have learnt and it's up to us older boys to deliver for the team and show good leadership."