Thurston has had some altercations with the halfback in the past including the 2015 Origin Decider when he told the NSW star the closest he'd ever get to the shield would be by standing next to Wally Lewis's statue outside Suncorp Stadium.

And when asked what he thought of Pearce’s requested release, the Cowboys legend admitted he thought the NSW half was treated harshly by the Roosters, but couldn’t resist another jab in anticipation of his good mate Cooper Cronk’s arrival at Bondi on a two-year deal.

"Being the chief playmaker there for the amount of time that he has been, it's a little bit harsh,” he said

"But then again, he's only 28 years of age. I think he could learn a lot off Cooper from the two years that Cooper is there.

"He could win another two or three premierships after Cooper's gone or even while Cooper's there."

Thurston pointed to Pearce’s history of cracking under pressure as to why he should have embraced being taken under Cronk’s wing.

"Cooper's a big game player, knows how to get the job done," he said.

"I think that's what Mitch has probably lacked over his career - how to close out big games.

"The best players know how to do that, especially when you're under fatigue and when your backs are against the wall.

"He could have learned a lot off Cooper but he thinks he's best elsewhere."