Smith was glowing in his appraisal of the NSW halfback and said he would be the perfect replacement for Cooper Cronk has joined the Roosters on a two-year deal. Cronk’s signing prompted Pearce to seek a release from the Bondi club, with the 2013 premiership-winner being courted by Newcastle, Cronulla and front-runner Manly. “Mitch is a wonderful player. I think he’s a wonderful halfback,” Smith said. “He’s been a representative halfback for a long time now; he’s played 270-odd first-grade games.