Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Mitchell Pearce has been a prominent name in the media as of late, with rumours rampant that he will leave the Newcastle Knights at the season’s end despite being contracted to the club for 2022.
Newcastle’s Recruitment Manager Clint Zammit has spoken to NRL.com and refuted this speculation that Pearce is on the way out.
“Nothing along the lines of an early release has been discussed by us at all, not once, and there wouldn’t really be a discussion anyway,” Zammit said.
“We wouldn’t be releasing him. He’s contracted next year and he’ll be our halfback next year.
“Mitchell hasn’t brought it up, we haven’t brought it up. He’s such an important part of our team for this year and the next.
“No club has got in contact with us about it either, if there is interest there it hasn’t got to that point, but as I’ve said we wouldn’t entertain it.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Phil “Buzz” Rothfield has since reported that there is still a widespread belief that the former New South Wales State of Origin representative will leave the Hunter at season’s end, with three clubs being brought up as likely destinations.
As reported last month, both the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs and Canberra Raiders are believed to be in discussions internally about whether or not they should pursue Pearce, with the Bulldogs seeking a halves partner for the incoming Matt Burton and the Raiders looking for a replacement for George Williams, who joined the Warrington Wolves midseason.
We now have a third contender for Pearce’s signature, as The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio is reporting that the Catalans Dragons are looking to sign the halfback.
“It comes through his relationship with Steve McNamara, the Catalans coach who he spent time with at the Sydney Roosters,” said Riccio on SEN 1170 Breakfast
“Mitchell’s contracted until the end of next season with the Newcastle Knights, but from November 1, clubs like Catalans and the Raiders can negotiate and make a formal offer to Mitchell.
“If those offers are significant, and they’re two or three-year extensions and the Knights won’t match that, then he could ask Newcastle for an early release and take up those offers at the end of the season.”
“Catalans is interesting because Mitchell Pearce has played under a heavy spotlight for the entirety of his career,” Riccio said.
“But it could just be the way that he goes off to enjoy himself for three seasons in the south of France.
“It doesn’t sound too bad, he’ll be one of the big headlines over the next two months.”
As Pearce has extended his stay with the Knights until the end of 2022, it seems that this situation will depend on whether or not the club wants him to stay or not.