Knights grant Pearce release for Catalans

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Mitchell Pearce will see out his rugby league career in the south of France after Newcastle finally granted the veteran halfback a release to join Super League Club, Catalans Dragons.

The Knights announced on Monday they would let Pearce out of the final year of his contract immediately to take up a lucrative two-year contract with the option of a third.

"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 said in a statement.

"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."

The 32-year-old had been pushing for the release since last month but Newcastle were reluctant to let him depart before they had found a replacement.

They have yet to lure a player from outside the club but recently re-signed 22-year-old Tex Hoy, who will work with former Knights star Andrew Johns.

Pearce has played 309 NRL games including 10 seasons with the Sydney Roosters, where he clocked up 238 games.

He won the 2013 premiership with the Roosters and played 19 State of Origin matches for NSW.

The popular playmaker was involved in several off-field controversies throughout his NRL career and in 2016 spent time in a rehabilitation facility for alcohol abuse.

He will replace former teammate James Maloney in the halves at the Dragons, the club who had controversial code-hopper Israel Folau on their books in 2020.

He played under Catalans coach Steve McNamara at the Roosters.

"We are delighted and excited by the signing of Mitchell," said McNamara.

"He has had an incredible career in the NRL and, having worked closely with him before, I know the sheer quality and energy he will bring to our team."

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