If you turn the clocks back 12 months, the big transfer story was whether Catalans Dragons could pull off the signing of Mitchell Pearce.
This came after James Maloney made the decision to make the 2021 season his last after guiding the Dragons to the League Leaders’ Shield and an inaugural Grand Final instead moving on to Lezignan in the Elite One Championship in France.
Eventually, after a tug of war with Newcastle Knights and despite interest from the Gold Coast Titans, Pearce signed on the dotted line to replace Maloney, his former Sydney Roosters and New South Wales halfback partner.
Pearce was the Super League’s best try scoring halfback in 2022 but struggled to guide the Dragons back to Old Trafford.
In 2023, he looks set to have a new halfback partner with Josh Drinkwater told he can leave the club with Warrington Wolves interested.
But as he looks ahead to next year, Pearce has enjoyed a blast from the past returning to Sydney Roosters, where he won the 2013 NRL Grand Final, to talk to their up and coming youngsters and impart wisdom to them as they aspire to be NRL stars.
On his return, he told the club’s website: “I spoke to Mitchell Aubusson and he just reached out and asked if I could come in and have a bit of a chat.
“I keep in touch with him and Jake Friend and a lot of my good mates from here anyway, but I was always more than happy to come in.
“I played here for a long time and it was great to have a chat with some of the Club’s young up-and-coming players.
“It’s a great setup – one of the best in the NRL I’ve seen, that’s for sure.
“Aubo was always destined for something like this. He’s always been a professional and he’s always been very organised.
“Friendy is a leader isn’t he? The boys are doing really well and I think they’ll both make good head coaches one day.
“It looks like the Club is putting themselves in a really good place for the future.
“The Roosters mean a whole lot to me. I played here for a long time and I’ve got memories for life. I arrived when I was 16 and I became a man here.
“From the front office staff, all the way to the players, there’s a lot of friendships I’ve made here that will stand the test of time.”