Toulouse Olympique sign former NRL half-back Corey Norman

Toulouse Olympique have signed ex-NRL half-back Corey Norman on a deal until the end of the 2022 season. 

Norman, 31, made 228 NRL appearances for Brisbane Broncos, Parramatta Eels and St. George Illawarra Dragons prior to announcing his ‘retirement’ from the sport in December last year.

However, he has now made a dramatic U-turn and will link up with the Super League newcomers, who currently sit bottom of the league with just one win from their opening nine matches.

‘I can’t wait to join the club’

Norman had previous told Fox Sports that he had no desire to continue playing at the highest level, but his change of heart has bolstered Sylvain Houles’ creative options as he looks to steer Toulouse to Super League survival.

A former State of Origin representative for Queensland, the Australian admits he is looking forward to testing himself in the South of France.

“I can’t wait to join the club and meet the whole team, coaches and supporters,” he said.

“This represents a good opportunity and at the same time a challenge for me. I also look forward to acquiring the learning that this new beginning will bring me.”

Olympique president Bernard Sarrazain also hailed the capture of Norman, saying:  “Corey’s arrival in the squad is excellent news for the club at this stage of the season. He has the ideal profile since he can occupy two positions that we were looking for; half-back and full-back.

“His extensive high-level experience, his talent and his leadership will be major assets for the team.

“I am happy that Corey has agreed to trust us and I can’t wait to see him wear the colours of Toulouse Olympique.”

Controversy in the NRL

Despite his on-field qualities, Norman has also found himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons over the course of his career.

He was handed a $20,000 breach notice by the Eels during his final year at the club in 2018, having been spotted on social media drinking while on the club’s injured list, going against their rules.

In January 2019, an online social media video led to new club St. George informing the NRL integrity unit over historic actions from Norman, with the Dragons confirming that they would make no further comment at the time. 

And last season, his final campaign in the NRL, Norman was fined  $20,000 and handed a breach notice after being involved in a street brawl with former NRL player and ex-Leeds Rhinos hooker James Segeyaro, before receiving a $50,000 and subsequent one-match ban later in the season for breaching the competition’s Covid-19 biosecurity protocols after attending a part with 12 of his Dragons team-mates. 

What will Norman bring to Super League?

Norman has long been a player linked with a switch from the NRL, but few will have expected his sudden move to the competition’s French newcomers.

An exciting playmaker with years of experience, he will add much-needed creativity to an Olympique side that have scored the second-fewest points of any side in Super League so far in 2022.

Houles named French duo Tony Gigot and Lucas Albert in the halves for their recent 28-24 defeat to Hull KR on Easter Monday.

The club have not confirmed when Norman will make his debut, with Toulouse next in action away at Leeds Rhinos on Friday.

READ MORE: Leeds Rhinos appoint Rohan Smith as new head coach

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