Josh Drinkwater will leave Catalans Dragons at the end of the season after what he describes as a six-month “rollercoaster ride” in France.
The Dragons called for international rescue in April after their worst ever start to a Super League season, with coach Steve McNamara asking Drinkwater to fill the breach after scrum-half Luke Walsh was forced to retire through injury.
Since his arrival on a half-season deal the Catalans have clawed their way from the bottom of the table to Super League safety. And the crowning glory came last month with the Catalans’’ historic Challenge Cup win at Wembley.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Drinkwater told League Express.
“It’s been successful and winning the Challenge Cup has been the highlight of my career so far.
“But I don’t think I’ll be staying here. For one reason or another, things haven’t worked out so I’ll be moving on.”
The Dragons have agreed terms with St Helens scrum-half Matty Smith for next season and Sam Tomkins has already agreed to move to Perpignan, creating congestion among the backs at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
It is understood the club will also be adding a winger to replace Fouad Yaha (who is leaving to join rugby union) and a prop forward, following the decision by Louis Anderson to leave at the end of the season.
The decision not to include Drinkwater next year will surprise some, who had seen him as the catalyst for the club’s revival in 2018.
Asked whether or not he will be staying in Super League, he said: “I’m not too fussed, my manager will sort all that out. I’d be happy either way, moving over to England in Super League or back to Australia to have a shot at the NRL.
“I just want to finish on a good note. Whatever happens after that happens, I guess.”
Drinkwater said he’d been impressed with the standard of the game this season, especially at the top level.
“I’ve enjoyed these last few months, I’ve been involved in some great games. The top four in Super League could definitely compete in the NRL. The only difference is that the bottom half of Super League would find it difficult.
“I’d be very happy to continue in Super League. I’ve lived in England before, so that wouldn’t be a problem.
“Rugby League is a rollercoaster. Last year I thought I’d be playing for Leigh for three years and the Million Pound Game put paid to that.
“Next thing I’m at Catalans and winning the Challenge Cup Final, so I’m not too fussed about the immediate future. It will sort itself out, so I’m not getting stressed about it.
“Rugby League is a business and I understand that.”