I had to leave to re­alise what’s im­por­tant



HE’S now New­cas­tle’s Knight in shin­ing ar­mour but, without his “rock”, Mitchell Pearce ad­mits he doesn’t know where or what he would be.

Meet Zoe Grant, 24, his part­ner of two years, who Pearce said helped him de­cide what to do af­ter he left the Syd­ney Roost­ers af­ter 11 years at the club.

It is the first time Pearce has spo­ken pub­licly of his re­la­tion­ship with Grant.

“My first thought (af­ter leav­ing the Roost­ers) was what Zoe and I wanted to do to­gether,’’ Pearce, 28, said.

“What­ever we did we were go­ing to do it to­gether. She’s been my num­ber one sup­port.

“There’s no way I could’ve done this without her. She’s a beau­ti­ful woman — and ever since she’s come into my life, ev­ery­thing has been so much calmer.

“I’ve got a lot of as­so­ci­a­tions in footy but re­ally I’ve only got Zoe and three close mates. To move out of the bub­ble of Syd­ney, you re­alise what and who is im­por­tant.’’

Grant, an Or­ange-born as­pir­ing in­te­rior de­signer and the daugh­ter of for­mer Balmain Tigers winger James Grant, said she was struck by Pearce’s will­ing­ness to put her first.

“Through­out this en­tire pe­riod, he’s han­dled it much bet­ter than I thought and bet­ter than any­one I know would’ve,’’ Grant said.

“This was a huge thing — he’s been some­where for his whole ca­reer and then to be com­pletely thrown into a place that both of us hadn’t re­ally been to. And at times he wasn’t think­ing about the fact that he was chang­ing his whole ca­reer, he was more think­ing of the fact that he and I were go­ing to this new place and on this jour­ney to­gether. We’re stronger for it.’’

Not only has the cou­ple em­braced the move to New­cas­tle, Pearce is ready to step up as a leader, hav­ing been named co-cap­tain of the Knights for the open­ing round this week.

And, in a move that in­di­cates the NSW Ori­gin half­back is se­ri­ous about re­defin­ing his im­age, Pearce has part­nered with Sony Mu­sic Aus­tralia’s ex­pand­ing sports man­age­ment arm Pa­rade Sports. He joins Mal Meninga, An­drew Johns, Johnathan Thurston and Alex McKin­non. “By work­ing with such high qual­ity peo­ple such as De­nis (Han­dlin, Sony Chair­man Aus­tralia and Asia) it will en­able me to de­velop firm re­la­tion­ships, which hope­fully can con­tinue well be­yond foot­ball,’’ he said.

Picture: Tim Hunter.

Mitchel Pearce cred­its part­ner Zoe Grant with sav­ing him.

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