JOHNATHON Ford believes Mitchell Pearce is on his way to the right place to become a Super League star in Catalans Dragons.
Just not being bothered nor living in a fishbowl will bring the best out of him.
The Toulouse captain played alongside the Australian half-back as a junior at NRL side Sydney Roosters.
And having been in France a decade himself, he knows his pal, who signed from Newcastle Knights, will be in the right environment, where his only concern is what he does on the field.
Ford said: “I played and trained alongside Mitchell at the Roosters. I haven’t seen him for a while, so it would be good to rub shoulders with someone who for me is one of the best halves in the world.
“I’m not really surprised he’s coming to France and I think it’ll suit him. It’ll be good for him.
“In Sydney, it’s a fishbowl, then you move to Newcastle – where I’m from – it’s a one club town and everyone is passionate.
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“Everyone knows who you are when you’re walking the street if you play for the Knights. Here, you just blend in and go about your business.
“It’ll be good for him to float around with no-one bothering him. In Newcastle, everyone idolises the players there, so it’ll be good to relax and get out of the limelight of that sort of pressurised situation.”
Ford may go up against his mate when Toulouse meet Catalans in Super League’s first ever French derby on April 14.
But the Cook Islands star believes having two sides on the other side of the Channel may mean more opportunities for clubs on these shores.
The 32-year-old added: “Off the field, there’s some international sponsorship that could get involved with other teams, if they’re looking for that they could open themselves up.
“People could say, ‘We’re going over here, maybe there’s some international things we can work on with sponsors.’
“But it’s good for rugby league in France and the better that goes, the more it pushes England. It puts rugby league on a pedestal – the bigger the game gets, the bigger the pot.
“Look at football, that’s why there’s so much money in it. There’s a big pool of things going on.”