Rugby League Expert & Columnist
“Visually Mitchell Pearce will look a far busier player than James Maloney. Pearce has a tremendous ability to run the ball, he has a long kicking game that will match anybody in Super League. But it’s more his dynamism with the ball that will mark him as a different sort of player.”
Last Updated: 15/11/21 5:26pm
Brian Carney gives his reaction after Mitchell Pearce becomes latest NRL star to sign on the dotted line for the Catalans Dragons.
Pearce, who has played more than 300 NRL games, has been granted an immediate release by Newcastle to join the Catalans Dragons from 2022 on a two-year deal, with an option for a third year.
The 32-year old will replace his former Sydney Roosters teammate, the retiring James Maloney in Perpignan and Sky Sports’ Carney expects Pearce to make an even bigger impact than Maloney did in the South of France.
“I believe James Maloney was instrumental in the resurgence of the Dragons that brought them that first League Leaders Shield and their maiden Grand Final,” Carney told Sky Sports on Monday.
“Both are very experienced players, both marshal generals on the field, but I think visually Mitchell Pearce will look a far busier player than James Maloney on the field.
“Pearce has a tremendous ability to run the ball, he has a long kicking game that will be the match of anybody in the Betfred Super League.
“But it’s more his dynamism with the ball that will mark him as a different sort of player than James Maloney.”
After 15 seasons in the top-flight, 309 NRL appearances for the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights and 19 Origins for NSW, there’s no questioning the 32-year old’s experience, and despite his age, Carney believes Pearce still has plenty left to give the game.
“There’s no reason Mitchell Pearce can’t get another three of four years out of his body. He’s a tremendous competitor and looks after himself,” Carney added.
“It’s noted by all the teams he’s played for and players he’s played with and coaches he’s played under, how much effort he puts into preparing himself for training and for games.
“I think the Catalans Dragons at this stage in Mitchell Pearce’s career – which I believe has a few more years to run – are a perfect fit.”
When it comes to favourites to win the 2022 Man of Steel, can we expect to see Catalans newest recruit on that list?
“There’s no question he has the attributes, he’s in a team that will win plenty of games and he is an influential player in that team.”