Pearce motivated by a new French challenge

Australian playmaker Mitchell Pearce says the prospect of a new challenge in a new environment was behind his move to the Super League in the south of France.

The 32-year-old scrum-half, who has played over 300 NRL games and made 19 State of Origin appearances, has been signed by the Catalans Dragons to fill the void created by the retirement of fellow Australian James Maloney.

Pearce has previously said his split from former professional dancer Kristin Scott led to the “worst year of my life”.

The moment had come when Dragons manager Steve McNamara, who worked with Pearce at Sydney Roosters, offered him a two-year contract and he was subsequently granted a release from the final year of his contract with Newcastle.

“I had a breakup last year with my ex-fiancée, so it was a bit of a tough year and that was one of the reasons,” Pearce said in his first press conference as a player. Catalan on Thursday.

“It was something different when Steve and the club approached me. It opened my curiosity. Something stimulated me to come abroad.

“I had one more season at Newcastle, but the opportunity to come here for a few years presented a new challenge, a new environment and a chance to break out of the same bubble I had been in for a long time in the NRL. .

“Something inside me was stimulated by it. I can’t explain it exactly, but the more I immersed myself in it, the better I felt and since I came here I’m really grateful to have it. taken.

“It’s been a breath of fresh air and I’m really motivated for the next two years. I couldn’t feel more at ease.”

The Perpignan club made history in 2021 by lifting the league leaders’ shield and reaching a first major final, but they say there is a burning desire to go further after losing to St Helens at Old Trafford.

“Since I came here I can see how hungry the boys are after losing last year,” he said.

“They were honored to be in the grand final, but you can see how much there is a desire to go further.

“I want to be a part of that, that was a big reason I came.”

The Catalans open their league campaign at Saints in a grand final rematch on Thursday, February 10 and prepare for it with a test match against Super League new boys Toulouse at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday.

“I loved the workout,” Pearce added. “It’s a really professional club and a group of great guys. It’s a very close group, I’ve understood that since I walked through the door.

“The boys have been working very hard and everyone is ready to go out and have our first try this weekend.”

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