The arrival of James Maloney ahead of the 2020 Super League season caused a stir in the competition as many wondered whether the former NRL Champion and State of Origin hero could fulfil Catalans’ untapped potential.
He did just that being the centre-piece of the side who finished top last year prior to playing in a first Grand Final, but the 12-10 Old Trafford defeat to St Helens was his last as a Dragon leaving Steve McNamara with the job of finding a replacement.
Some wondered whether he’d turn to youngster Arthur Mourgue who at times featured in the halves last year with great success but, with Mourgue more accustomed to the fullback role currently held by Man of Steel Sam Tomkins, the Dragons again turned to the NRL and in the shape of Maloney’s former teammate Mitchell Pearce.
Rumours of Pearce’s move to the south of France have been circulating for weeks with his current side Newcastle Knights unwilling to release him from his contract to take on the Super League challenge until they found a suitable replacement according to reports down under. But the Knights have today officially released Pearce so he can join the Dragons ahead of 2022 according to NRL.com.
Mitchell Pearce has officially departed the #NRL to join Catalans Dragons in Super League.
Au Revoir, Mitch! 🇫🇷
— NRL (@NRL) November 14, 2021
The scrum-half has played 309 NRL games including a 2013 Grand Final triumph with Sydney Roosters alongside Maloney before featuring besides him in the 2019 State of Origin decider in which New South Wales claimed the spoils.
Pearce has been a Newcastle Knight since 2018 but the club today released a statement releasing him from his current deal ending his tenure at the club which saw them reach consecutive finals series. The statement read: “Pearce requested a release from the final year of his current contract in late October, with both parties working through the process, making it effective immediately.
“The Knights would like to thank Mitchell for his significant contribution since joining the club in 2017, celebrating many highlights including 300 NRL games and back-to-back finals series.”
Catalans have yet to make an official announcement confirming his arrival but it appears to be a matter of if rather than when.