It leaves the South Sydney Rabbitohs a bit skinny when it comes to forward depth but the move has been made, with the Catalan Dragons confirming the signing of Souths prop Jeff Lima for the next three years.
Lima, who has played just under 100 NRL games in his career to date, has accolades to his name having won premierships, Challenge Cups and gaining other honours like representative football.
For Catalans head coach Lauren Frayssinous, Lima is the sort of player his side needed as he offers aggression, power and commands respect on the field.
“Jeff Lima is the ideal profile, it fulfills the criteria I was looking for,” said Frayssinous.
“He is an aggressive player and especially a leader on and off the field. We took some time to finalize its recruitment but it will be a real added value to our pack.
“He is a respected player in the Super League and NRL and has a large experience of big games and he will bring us a lot.”
At 31, Lima brings a wealth of experience and the Catalans side are looking forward to utilising that experience in the coming years.
“Recruitment is a long record to wrap this season but we are moving gradually and we begin to see it draw the face of the workforce in 2014,” said Christophe Jouffret, the Catalans General Manager.
“We wanted to hire a big name to the position pier to replace RÃ©mi Casty and I think it’s done with the arrival of Jeff Lima. This is a player who has experience with big clubs and two major competitions, the NRL and Super League and his signature is a real satisfaction.”
There was still one more year to go on Lima’s contract but it was Souths who agreed to release him from that final year.
It was a few weeks ago when Lima first raised the possibility to Souths coach Michael Maguire about playing in France for Catalans.
â€œJeff spoke to me on a number of occasions about the possible move to France, saying he thought he had given everything he could in 2013 to reach the standards required to play at the NRL level,” said Maguire.
â€œHe wasnâ€™t sure that he could produce that again for us in 2014 and he had an opportunity to extend his career in the Super League playing with Catalans over the next three years.
â€œJeff did a great job for us in the toughest position on the field in the front row last year and Iâ€™m sure his move to France will enable him to extend his career and to play his best football.
â€œHe gave his all for us here at the Rabbitohs and we wish him the very best of luck at his new club in 2014.â€