Catalans sign NRL champion

Catalans have signed Australian loose forward Dallas Johnson from NRL champions Melbourne Storm on a three-year deal.

Johnson, 26, makes the move to France and Super League after Storm agreed to a request to release him from his contract.

The Queensland state of Origin star said: “This was without doubt the toughest decision of my career.

“But there are other areas of life I want to explore and living abroad and travelling is absolutely up there on the list.
 
“The opportunity to continue my rugby league career with the security of a long-term deal and in such a beautiful part of the world was one that I couldn’t refuse.

“I have always wanted to play in Super League and I could think of no better Club to do it at than Catalans. After winning the NRL and the State of Origin I want to win the Super League. They were not far from the Grand Final last year and I am certain with the quality of the players we have in this squad we can do even better.”

Johnson made his solitary appearance for Australia in the 2007 test match against New Zealand, alongside current Catalans star Greg Bird.

Dragons Head Coach Kevin Walters said: “I  am delighted to secure the services of Dallas Johnson. He is a champion player who will bring a lot to our team especially thanks to his exceptional defensive skills. Dallas is a natural leader and is exactly the type of player the Dragons need to keep improving year after year. I am sure  our supporters and sponsors will love Dallas attitude and commitment to the club both on and off the field.”

Johnson has played in the last four NRL Grand Finals with the Storm, winning in 2007 and 2009, and has made more than 150 appearances in the NRL.

Storm CEO Brian Waldron said: “It’s with a heavy heart that we’ve agreed to the release request.

“This is a great opportunity for Dallas and his wife, Mel, and as a club we would never stand in the way of such a great life experience that awaits.”

Johnson is due to arrive in France in early December for pre-season training once he is granted a working visa.

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