MITCHELL Pearce may have played his last game for the Newcastle Knights, amid mounting speculation that he will request a release to join Catalans Dragons next year.
Pearce, the former NSW Origin halfback, has been linked to the French Super League side for several months, after reportedly being tempted by a three-year deal worth an estimated $1.8 million.
But the veteran playmaker remains contracted to Newcastle for next season, having signed a 12-month extension in March that ties him to the Knights until the end of 2022.
News Corporation reported on Friday that Pearce was poised to formally ask the Knights to terminate that deal, but Knights CEO Phil Gardner said he has had no conversations along those lines with the 32-year-old.
"Mitchell hasn't contacted us, so our position is the same it's always been," Gardner said.
"Mitchell is contracted to us for next year.
"He's been a great servant of the club and we're very fond of him. At this stage he is still contracted to us for 2022 and we expect him to honour his obligations."
Gardner said he was hoping to speak to Pearce in coming days to "see where he's at".
It has been reported that the Knights would consider allowing Pearce to move on if they can line up a replacement, but quality halves still on the market appear to be few and far between.
Newcastle do have a back-up after signing Adam Clune from St George Illawarra, while young tyros Phoenix Crossland and Simi Sasagi could potentially partner Jake Clifford in the halves.
The other option for coach Adam O'Brien could be to switch Kalyn Ponga from fullback to five-eighth.
Pearce has played in 310 NRL games, 239 for Sydney Roosters and 71 for Newcastle.
He captained both clubs but was also removed as skipper after much-publicised off-field incidents.