Penrith Panthers can confirm Dean Whare has been granted an immediate release from the final year of his contract to pursue an opportunity in the Super League.
The 31-year-old centre will link up with Catalans Dragons on a multi-year deal, with the clubs to complete the necessary paperwork in the coming days.
"Catalans contacted our club several weeks ago to express their interest in acquiring Dean’s services," Panthers General Manager Rugby League Matt Cameron said.
"The opportunity they have presented to him at this point in his career is a valuable one in many respects, and it is one which he and his family are excited to pursue.
"Dean has given outstanding service to Panthers over the last eight years. His professionalism and resilience have earned him the respect of everyone at our club.
"We wish him, his wife Natasha and their young family all the very best for the future."
Dean Whare says farewell to Panthers
After starting his NRL career with the Sea Eagles, Whare joined Panthers in 2013 and played 130 games in eight seasons at the club.
"I’ve been keeping an eye on the Super League for a while and when the opportunity came up at Catalans, my family and I knew we had to take it," Whare said.
"After spending so many years calling Penrith home, there’s still a lot of emotions about moving on.
"This club has come a long way since I first arrived. I feel a sense of pride knowing I’ve been part of that journey.
"I want to thank the members, fans, sponsors and everyone involved with Panthers for the love and support they’ve shown me over the last eight years."
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary also paid tribute to the contribution of Whare during his time at Panthers.
"The significance of Dean’s service is best demonstrated by the fact 75 players have debuted for Panthers since his first game," Cleary said.
"He was an all-important constant through a period of major transformation for our club.
"Dean has grown into a leader on and off the field, and consistently set an fantastic example for our younger players.
"We’re delighted he's been given this special opportunity to continue his career in France and we wish him and his family the best of luck."