I had to leave to realise what’s important
THE WOMAN WHO MADE MITCHELL PEARCE
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.
Mitchel Pearce credits partner Zoe Grant with saving him.