Wayne Pearce

Coaching Career

Vital Statistics

Full Name
Wayne John Pearce
Tuesday, 29th March, 1960
Current Age
63 years and 184 days
Place Of Birth
Balmain, New South Wales, Australia

Awards & Accolades

Harry Sunderland Medal
Rothmans Medal
Dally M Lock Of The Year
1987, 1988
Ken Stephen Medal
National Rugby League Hall Of Fame

Known Family Links

Mitchell Pearce
Graham Pearce


The career of Wayne Pearce best typifies the standard of commitment required of the modern footballer. The image the Balmain lock projected - the intelligent, conscientious professional with a background in nutrition and fitness - became the role model of the 1980s. What he lacked in natural ability he more than made up for in determination but Pearce's career did provide its share of disappointments among a list of achievements. Coming into grade from the Balmain juniors in 1978 a bout of hepatitis halted his immediate playing career. In 1980 he was named the club's ‘best and fairest’ player but a detached retina injury saw him miss the beginning of the 1981 season. Pearce’s great form in 1982 earned selection on the Kangaroo Tour and coach Frank Stanton moved him to the second row to bring him into the Test team. ‘Junior’ Pearce was the discovery of the tour - playing in all five Tests - and his whole-hearted performances at club level soon saw him take over the Balmain captaincy. Pearce led by example and the Tigers were regular semi-final visitors during the 1980s. In 1984 he won the Harry Sunderland Medal as the best Australian ‘Player of the Ashes’ series and his natural determination was seen at its best when he scored a great try in the Second Test in Brisbane. In 1985 he won the Rothmans Medal as best and fairest player but suffered another detached retina injury in the major semi-final that year. Worse was to follow. A knee injury in late 1986 made a second Kangaroo tour unlikely but Pearce underwent an operation before setting himself a gruelling fitness program in order to make the tour. He ultimately failed the fitness test, an unjust reward for his efforts, but resumed his Test career the following year against NZ. In 1988 Pearce was inexplicably left out of the Centenary Test against Great Britain but went on to play in every other rep fixture that year. In 1988-89 he captained Balmain in successive grand final losses - a heart-breaking statistic but one Pearce took in his stride in good sportsmanship. Awarded the OAM in 1988 he retired when the injury to his left knee limited him to just 7 games during the 1990 season. A respected figure in the game Pearce first pursued a career in the media with Channel 10 but, in 1994, with the Balmain club at the crossroads he took over from Alan Jones as first grade coach. After a promising start the Tigers finished with the wooden spoon but Pearce remained committed the club's survival during the late 1990s. In 1999 he was named the inaugural coach of the merged W’Tigers club as well as being appointed NSW State of Origin coach. Pearce brought new meaning to the concept of ‘team bonding’ with a highly publicised horse-riding activity that went horribly wrong (two of his star forwards, Robbie Kearns and Bradley Clyde, were injured and ruled out of the series). After 1999’s interstate series finished in a historic draw (but with Queensland maintaining the trophy) he resigned from his club duties to spend more time with his family. In 2000 Pearce’s NSW team won the State of Origin series 3-0 – thereby becoming the only person to achieve such a feat as a player (1986) and a coach. Unfortunately he suffered the fate of many a losing coach the following year and was replaced by Phil Gould for the 2002 State of Origin series. Autobiography, Local Hero (1990).

Coaching Career Statistics

All statistics shown in this section are based only on data available in the RLP database, and are not necessarily a complete and/or 100% accurate representation of a player's career. This information should be used as a guide only. If you see a question mark (?), it denotes that the figure is not available.

To view a list of corresponding matches, click on the List button.


Competition   Games W L D Win %  
NRL 162 60 99 3 37.04% List
State of Origin 9 5 3 1 55.56% List


Australia - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
NSW 1999-01 9 5 3 1 55.56% List

Club Career


Team Season Games W L D Win %  
Balmain NSWRL 1994 22 4 18 0 18.18% List
Sydney Tigers ARL 1995 22 7 15 0 31.82% List
Sydney Tigers ARL 1996 22 11 11 0 50.00% List
Balmain ARL 1997 22 10 12 0 45.45% List
Balmain NRL 1998 24 9 14 1 37.50% List
Balmain NRL 1999 24 8 16 0 33.33% List
Wests Tigers NRL 2000 26 11 13 2 42.31% List


Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Balmain 1994-99 136 49 86 1 36.03% List
Wests Tigers 2000 26 11 13 2 42.31% List
Overall1994-2000 162 60 99 3 37.04% List

Your Say

Dave jensen says: Wayne Pearce one word legend (08/07/2016)

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Contributions: Paul Carter, Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson, Rugby League Tables, Alan Katzmann, Steven Russo, AJ Lucantonio, Greg Fiveash, Bill Bates