After seven years with the Penrith Panthers, Dean Whare will head elsewhere, signing with the Catalans Dragons.
The Super League outfit has signed him for two seasons after the Panthers gave him an early release from his contract.
Whare began his career with the Manly Sea Eagles before making the jump to the Panthers, where he played 130 NRL games.
Although there is some emotion about leaving Penrith due to how long he has been at the club, he was always looking at Super League opportunities.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on the Super League for a while and when the opportunity came up at Catalans, my family and I knew we had to take it,” Whare said.
“After spending so many years calling Penrith home, there’s still a lot of emotions about moving on.”
Whare was quick to praise everyone at the club over his seven years at the foot of the mountains.
“This club has come a long way since I first arrived,” Whare continued.
“I feel a sense of pride knowing I’ve been part of that journey.
“I want to thank the members, fans, sponsors and everyone involved with Panthers for the love and support they’ve shown me over the last eight years.”
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary praised Whare for his commitment to the club over the last seven years.
“The significance of Dean’s service is best demonstrated by the fact 75 players have debuted for Panthers since his first game,” Cleary said.
“He was an all-important constant through a period of major transformation for our club.”
As for his move to Catalans, Whare is excited to embrace the French culture and to get stuck in for his new side.
“I am very excited for the new opportunity to be joining the Catalans Dragons,” Whare said.
“I am looking forward to meeting the team and embracing the French culture.
“There are some exciting times ahead and I can’t wait to start.”
It was also a signing that pleased Dragons coach Steve McNamara.
“Dean will be a great addition to our squad,” McNamara said.
“He is an outstanding professional with great ethics, he will bring real quality and class to our attack whilst he is also a player who loves the tough defensive side of the game.”