Catalans secure Benjamin Garcia return

Catalans Dragons have completed the signing of Ben Garcia with immediate effect on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Garcia, 23, signed for the Penrith Panthers ahead of the 2016 season but failed to establish himself at the NRL club.

The young forward, who previously played for Brisbane Broncos’ NYC side was allowed to leave the Panthers, the club that England star Zak Hardaker has just signed for.

Despite only pursuing his dream of playing Down Under at the start of this year, Garcia admitted that he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to return to Catalans.

“It was a tough decision to leave the Panthers,” said Garcia.

“I have always dreamed to play in the NRL, I had a great year down under but I couldn’t refuse the contract offered by the Dragons. It’s the club I love, it’s the club where I started my professional career and I’m really happy to be back here. I would like to thank the Penrith Panthers who have understood and respected my decision and I’m looking forward now to joining my teammates and playing again in front of the Gilbert Brutus crowd. The club has a great season so far and I hope I can bring my contribution to its success.”

Catalans head coach Laurent Frayssinous added: “I am delighted to welcome Benjamin back to the club. He is a talented young player and his qualities and his versatility will help the team to move forward. He always kept the club in his heart and, after his experience in Australia, he is really motivated to add his contribution. He will add depth to a talented squad and I’m sure he will help the team to reach their goals.”