Pearce extends Knights NRL deal

Halfback Mitchell Pearce will be with Newcastle at least until the end of next year.
Halfback Mitchell Pearce will be with Newcastle at least until the end of next year.

Mitchell Pearce has put a tumultuous summer behind him by signing a new one-year NRL deal to stay in Newcastle.

Pearce confirmed on Tuesday he would stay at the Knights until at least the end of 2022, insistent he never wanted to leave Newcastle with a job half done.

Brought to the Knights to win a premiership, Pearce has been the centre of speculation over his future after just one finals appearance in three years.

His signature is a crucial piece of a potential halves merry-go-round, after Jahrome Hughes re-signed with Melbourne last week but seven playmakers still off contract this year.

Pearce's contract is believed to be worth less than his previous $900,000 salary, but the halfback said he never considered testing the market.

"It's nice to stop the chatter for sure and lock in your future," he said.

"Everyone wants to secure with that. I couldn't be happier and my mind is purely on football now.

"Obviously there has been a lot of talk. I never wanted to go anywhere else. Since coming up here I am striving hard to achieve what we want to achieve.

"I see myself as a Knight now. I really want to get a job done with the boys and club up here."

In a summer to forget, Pearce had the captaincy stripped from him after a scandal that involved an employee of the club.

He suffered a thumb injury that dented his preseason, needing him requiring surgery but still fit to face Canterbury on Friday night.

"It was a challenging couple of months there, no doubt about that. But to come back and have the support was great," he said.

"My role as a leader in the way I do it won't change. I think it's been great the dynamics of the group that Adam (coach Adam O'Brien) has implemented.

"I'll be doing things the best way I can on and off the field."

The 31-year-old Pearce also said he had no issue with the length of the deal, despite having got through the past two seasons relatively injury free.

The former NSW State of Origin halfback is on track to play his 300th NRL game in round three against Wests Tigers, and has no end-date in mind yet.

"I still feel like I have plenty of footy ahead of me ... I don't want to put any limits on how long I play for," Pearce said.

"I still feel as fresh and hungry as I ever have.

"I think it's a good agreement from the club.

"Being a bit older who knows how long you are going to play for."

Meanwhile young playmaker Phoenix Crossland was on Tuesday suspended from opening-round games across all grades after an altercation in a Newcastle pub.

Australian Associated Press