Pat Richards has signed a two-year deal with Catalans Dragons to return to Super League in 2016 after Wests Tigers chose not to re-sign him.
The 33-year-old goalkicking winger enjoyed eight successful seasons with the Warriors before returning to the NRL with Wests Tigers two years ago and is now set to play out his career in the south of France.
“I’m excited about coming back to the Super League and the new challenge of playing for the Catalans Dragons,” Richards said.
“My family and I are also excited about living in and being a part of the French culture.”
Richards arrived almost unheralded at Wigan in 2006 but he went on to become Super League’s leading points-scorer in four of his eight seasons and was named Man of Steel in 2010 when he was also the competition’s leading try-scorer.
Formerly with Parramatta, Richards has so far amassed more than 3000 points over 15 seasons in the NRL and Super League and also won seven caps for Ireland in the last two World Cups.
He added the Super League Grand Final to his 2005 Premiership success with Wests Tigers during his spell at Wigan, where he was also twice a Challenge Cup winner.
Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous said: “I’m delighted with the signing of Pat Richards.
“We were looking for a player with a great experience, and, with more than 300 Super League and NRL appearances, he will help the team, especially the young players we have coming through like Fouad Yaha.
“His try per game ratio proves he is a prolific try scorer and his place kicking is second to none.”
Wests Tigers interim chief executive Phil Moss confirmed that Richards was not offered a new deal by them.
“I would like to commend Pat on his contributions to the club over the past two seasons,” Moss said. “He has been a great servant to the Wests Tigers since returning from Super League.
“We are obviously disappointed to lose a player of his calibre but due to our current salary cap situation, we were unable to make an offer to re-sign Pat.
“We wish Pat well in the next chapter of his career.”