The Panthers have confirmed that centre Dean Whare has been released from the final year of his contract to play in the UK Super League.
The 31-year-old centre will link up with Catalans Dragons on a multi-year deal, with the clubs to complete the necessary paperwork in the coming days.
Whare joined Penrith from Manly in time for the 2013 NRL season, playing 130 NRL games for the club.
Known for his defensive abilities, Whare struggled to find a permanent spot in the top grade during 2020, playing just eight games for the Panthers.
“Dean has given outstanding service to Panthers over the last eight years. His professionalism and resilience have earned him the respect of everyone at our club,” Panthers General Manager Rugby League Matt Cameron said.
Whare said he has strong memories from his time at the Panthers.
“This club has come a long way since I first arrived. I feel a sense of pride knowing I’ve been part of that journey,” Whare said.
“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 also paid tribute to the contribution of Whare during his time at Panthers.
“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.
— Penrith Panthers (@PenrithPanthers) February 8, 2021
“Dean has grown into a leader on and off the field, and consistently set an fantastic example for our younger players.
“We’re delighted he’s been given this special opportunity to continue his career in France and we wish him and his family the best of luck.”
Whare’s departure follows Penrith’s signing of Paul Momirovski from the Wests Tigers over the weekend.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.