Mitchell Pearce is expected to ask the Newcastle Knights for a release in the coming days to join Catalans Dragons as the UK Super League side confirmed its interest.
The 32-year-old playmaker could follow the path set by former NRL star James Maloney, who joined the Dragons after a successful career in Australia before retiring this year.
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According to Nine’s Danny Weidler, Pearce’s exit from Newcastle, where he has played since 2018, could come this week.
“He has a great relationship with coach Adam O’Brien and officials, and does not want to let them down,” Weidler wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald.
“But the opportunity to play out his career at Catalans is appealing for the 310-game NRL veteran.
“Pearce has spoken to a host of people about the decision, including former teammates, club legends and Super League players.”
Dragons officials have made no secret that they are interested in the Australian, with recruiting chief Alex Chan saying the club was prepared to wait until Pearce secures an exit from the Knights.
“We’ve definitely got interest in him, but we can’t force the fact unless he gets a release from his existing contract in Australia,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’ve spoken with [coach] Steve [McNamara], he’s been in contact with Mitch, and Steve is pretty positive we can make it happen should he get that release from Newcastle.
“I think Mitch would bring what Jimmy brought to us. He’s an established player, someone who has been there and done that and won titles. He will also bring the younger group up to where they need to be and can show the young guys, ‘this is how it’s done, now this is how you do it’.
“Mitch has been a professional for a long time. We are prepared to wait but it would be a bonus if we could get a deal done soon.”
Pearce has played 71 games for the Knights, scoring 15 tries, and captained the club for a number of seasons before stepping down in 2021.
He previously played for the Roosters where he won the 2013 grand final.