NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29: Mitchell Pearce of the Newcastle Knights looks to pass the ball during the round 15 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on June 29, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Mitchell Pearce's well-publicised move away from the Newcastle Knights and to the Catalan Dragons was thought to end his NRL career.

In a similar move to that of former Sydney Roosters and New South Wales State of Origin teammate James Maloney, the move to Catalan was supposed to be the swansong for Pearce.

That seemed even more so the case when the contract was officially announced by the French club, with two years locked and loaded and a third built in as an option.

If Pearce sees out those three years in the south of France, he will be 34 by the time he winds up in the English Super League - a competition one would expect Pearce to dominate, and be in contention for the major awards as he attempts to extract revenge for the club who lose the 2021 decider to St Helens.

But the veteran hasn't ruled out a return to the NRL following his stint in the overseas competition, telling The Daily Telegraph that players are playing longer now.

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“I honestly don’t know,” he said, “I’m not going to close the door there.

“I’m fully committed to Catalans and I’m going over there hoping to win their first title.

“Who knows? Players are playing longer now.”

A return for Pearce to the NRL would come as a shock. Following his 307-game NRL career, where Pearce has been a club stalwart at both the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights, a stint in France was believed to have been spurred on by Maloney, who he will replace.

Maloney has retired at the end of the just-completed season.

The publication understands his former club - the Roosters - are privately discussing a possible farewell season at the Roosters upon the completion of his Super League deal.

The tri-colours were Pearce's home for 238 games, where he was a premiership winner and multiple-time State of Origin player.

He may not have been able to breakthrough at Origin level during his time with the club, but he brought untold success to the Roosters during his time there.

QUEANBEYAN, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Sam Walker of the Roosters celebrates a try with team mates during the NRL trial Match between the Sydney Roosters and the Canberra Raiders at Seiffert Oval on February 27, 2021 in Queanbeyan, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The Roosters are set to go into 2022 with Sam Walker and Luke Keary as their halves. Keary is currently contracted until the end of 2024, and Walker until the end of 2023, and it's likely that re-signing Walker - at the very least - will be of the utmost priority for the Roosters.

Whether Pearce would be comfortable to return as anything other than a first-choice half remains to be seen, as does his form and ability to continue playing at the highest level by the time the end of his contract rolls around.

Trent Robinson is known to be a fan of Pearce however, meaning any possible return isn't totally off the table.