'Au revoir': League world reacts to big Mitchell Pearce news

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Pictured here, Mitchell Pearce at an NRL press conference in 2021.
Mitchell Pearce is set to join French side the Catalans Dragons after being released by the Newcastle Knights. Pic: Getty

The Australian rugby league community is paying its respects to Mitchell Pearce after news the veteran halfback has been released by the Newcastle Knights.

On Monday, the Knights confirmed that they'd granted Pearce a release from the final year of his contract, with the 32-year-old set to join Super League club, Catalans Dragons.

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The French side is the same one that released controversial cross-code superstar Israel Folau earlier this year.

Pearce requested a release from the final year of his current contract in late October, with the Knights finally agreeing to let him go, effective immediately.

The 32-year-old joined the club in 2017 and has played 309 NRL games, including 10 seasons with the Sydney Roosters, with whom he won a premiership.

Newcastle released a statement to thank the veteran halfback for his service to the club and wish him the best for his next adventure.

"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 statement read.

"The club wishes Mitchell all the very best for his future."

The former NSW Origin halfback helped the Knights reach the NRL finals for a second straight year after returning from a long stint on the sidelines with a pectoral muscle injury.

He played 19 State of Origin games for the Blues and was the youngest man to reach the 200-game milestone mark in the NRL in 2015.

Pictured here, Mitchell Pearce passes the ball for Newcastle in a round 23 match in 2021.
Mitchell Pearce is seen here in action for the Knights in round 23 of the NRL in 2021. Pic: Getty

Pearce agreed a one-year extension with the Knights earlier this year but has opted for a change of scenery at the Catalans Dragons, following James Maloney's retirement.

"We've shown we are interested in him, but it comes down to whether Newcastle are prepared to let him go early," Catalans football manager Alex Chan said in October.

The No. 7, who has played 309 games for the Roosters and the Knights, has endured a difficult 12 months in Newcastle.

He was stood down from the captaincy after the high-profile cancellation of his wedding, following an alleged scandal involving a teammate's girlfriend.

NRL fans farewell Mitchell Pearce 

Pearce was also restricted to just 12 games last season due to injury.

The league world has been quick to pay tribute to the 32-year-old, following his exit from the NRL.

with AAP

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