AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 19: NRL great Andrew Johns looks on prior to the round 15 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Sydney Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium on June 19, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Newcastle Knights legend and NRL immortal Andrew Johns has made a dramatic call for Mitchell Pearce to finish his career overseas.

Pearce is contracted at the Knights until the end of 2022, however, it appears his future and final rugby league contract lies away from the Hunter.

He has been linked with the Canberra Raiders and Canterbury Bulldogs, while it has been speculated the Wests Tigers could also be interested in the 32-year-old's services.

The veteran has also been linked strongly with the Catalans Dragons, a French club playing in the English Super League, and Johns said he thinks it would be a great opportunity for Pearce to finish his career away from the Australian spotlight.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 24: Mitchell Pearce of the Knights looks on after another Tigers try during the round 23 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

James Maloney is the most recent veteran half to head overseas, with the former club-hopping star spending time at the Catalans Dragons.

Johns told Wide World of Sports podcast Freddy and the eighth that Catalans would be a great fit.

“I think that’d be a great opportunity for him,” Johns said.

“Catalans offering him a two-three year deal... south of France, anonymous, weekends off, fly into wherever - it takes you half an hour to an hour to fly all over Europe.

“Less eyes on him, faster more open game.

“I think if he decides to go, I think Catalans would be a great fit for him.”

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While Pearce has been a consistent force in the Knights' starting side during his tenure at the club, and has played more than 300 first grade games, he has battled with injury this season.

It's thought coach Adam O'Brien eventually wants to shift Kalyn Ponga into the halves, however, with Jake Clifford at the club, alongside young guns Phoenix Crossland and Simi Sasagi, the competition for a half spot even after Pearce departure would be hot.

Johns though said that Tex Hoy could be the man to play in the halves if Pearce leaves, allowing Ponga to stay in a position where he has become one of the best in the game, and the first-choice option for the Queensland State of Origin team.

Knights youngster Tex Hoy (Image:

“Tex is a fullback but he’s got to commit to five-eighth. He won’t be playing fullback at the Knights while Kalyn is there,” Johns said.

“They’ve got a bit of depth at the Knights. Interesting to see what happens with Mitchell.”

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