Josh Drinkwater has become one of Catalans Dragons most important players in recent years.
James Maloney has rightly earned the headlines for the French club in the past two seasons, but it is Drinkwater that keeps the Catalans cog turning.
The 29-year-old halfback first came to Super League with the London Broncos in 2014 before a two-year spell at Leigh Centurions from 2016 to 2017.
However, it was his one-year visit to the south of France in 2018 that really put Drinkwater on the map.
Nine tries and 75 goals in 21 appearances thrust the Australian halfback into the limelight and he earned a deal from Hull KR ahead of the 2019 Super League season.
But, Drinkwater couldn’t resist the pull of returning in 2020.
28 appearances later in the south of France and the 29-year-old says it would be “definitely somewhere” he would think about retiring.
“I haven’t even thought about it I’m just going into a new two-year deal so I’m there until the end of 2023,” the Aussie told Serious About Rugby League.
“France for the moment is my home away from home.
“My partner will be moving over early in 2022 and it’s definitely somewhere I could see myself retiring in the future – there are worse places in the world to live than the south of France while playing and doing what you love for a job.
“You see a lot of overseas players, once they finish at the Dragons, retire and stick around so that may be something I’ll look into, but I still have a lot of rugby at Super League level left before I think about that.”
Drinkwater also spoke about Catalans president Bernard Guasch who was left bitterly disappointed by the match officials during the 2021 Grand Final defeat to St Helens.
Guasch stated that he would not play another final unless there were Australian referees to make it neutral, following a number of controversial calls during the game at Old Trafford.
Speaking on Guasch, Drinkwater revealed his respect for the Dragons owner and went into detail about his passionate personalty which has come to the fore on a number of occasions.
“Bernard is passionate but the only wants success for the club and team,” Drinkwater said.
“He doesn’t get involved at all with the day-to-day stuff at training as he leaves everything to the coaching and staff.
“He turned up to games and will come into the sheds before the game and walk around and shake everyone’s hand and the same after the match.
“As a player, I couldn’t have any more respect for him for what he’s done for our team and how he’s treated us over the last two seasons.”
Catalans will head into the 2022 season as one of the favourites again, having played such attractive rugby league last season which saw them win the League Leaders’ Shield.
Speaking on whether that will add more pressure, Drinkwater said: “There is always pressure but teams will know how good we are now and to finish top of Super League shows that.
“This is a tough competition and we’ll be going all out again next season to finish top again but hopefully this time we’ll be able to take home the glory when it comes to the finals.”