Pearce calls time on decorated rugby league career

Craig Golding/AAP PHOTOS

Veteran playmaker Mitchell Pearce has shut the door on a return to the NRL, announcing he will retire from rugby league.

Pearce will bow out after almost two decades in the game when the halfback completes his commitments with second-placed Super League club Catalans Dragons.

A teenage NRL debutant in 2007 with the Sydney Roosters and a premiership winner in 2013, Pearce played 238 games at the club before he was squeezed out by Cooper Cronk's arrival at the end of 2017.

He took his NRL career games tally to 309 in four years at Newcastle, before exiting the Knights for the Super League at the end of 2021.

"I've decided that this season will be last in rugby league," the 34-year-old posted on social media.

"What a journey it's been. I finish the game knowing I have given every bit of my heart and soul for nearly 18 years.

"I've had some amazing times and leave the game with friends I know I'll have for the rest of my life.

"I still have a job to do with Catalans Dragons and I'm all in to go after that trophy and make history for French rugby league."

Despite regularly taking the Roosters to the top four, Pearce was never far from the spotlight both on and off the field.

It was in the State of Origin arena where he received the most attention, with his selection at No.7 for NSW coming during a period of dominance for Queensland.

But he was able to finally win a series in his 19th and last match for the Blues, called in to replace Nathan Cleary for the 2019 decider.

After two seasons in the Super League, there had been speculation he could return to the NRL this year when he was approached by Benji Marshall to join Wests Tigers.