DOB: 28 January 1885
Died: 15 April 1915
From: South Bendigo
Number: 19 (1912-1913)
A dashing full-back, Pearce was one of the safest defenders of an era when the Redlegs couldn't make the finals and were more often than not at the bottom of the ladder. A safe mark and clever under pressure, he played his career as an amateur and wouldn't even accept expenses. He was also renowned as a talented cricket, lacrosse and tennis player.
He established himself as a regular in his second season, but missed the last few games of the season due to a broken collarbone suffered in an exhibition game in Traralgon. He only played 10 games the next year, but it was the lowest tally in his decade long career.
In 1912 Pearce represented the VFL against a Ballarat League team. The next year he was elected captain in June when Alf George retired, saying "I'll have no one to growl at me now for leaving my goals".
Originally called Arthur Mueller Pearce, Joe changed his name to avoid anti-German prejudice. Pearce enlisted in the army for World War I, saying "I think I ought to go, and if I don't come back it won't matter much". He rose to the rank of Corporal before being killed while landing on the beach at Gallipoli, one of the first VFL players to lose his life in the conflict.
His cousin was Jack Mueller. Before his VFL career started he had also played cricket in Bendigo, and he played sub-district cricket for Coburg during his football career.
Also shown as 'Bert Pierce'
Morwell Advertiser - 18/08/1905
Punch - 12/06/1913
Argus - 14/06/1915
Referee - 16/06/1915
Bendigonian - 17/06/1915
Bendigo Independent - 21/06/1915
Bendigonian - 24/06/1915
Winner - 30/06/1915
Argus - 25/04/1916
Horsham Times - 14/09/1926