The local junior left the Club at the end of the 2008 season to join French Rugby Union team Stade Francais on a two year contract when external third party commitments that were included in his previous Dragons contract were not met.
“We are very pleased to see Mark return to the Dragons, we were all disappointed to see him leave but we respected and understood the external circumstances that led to his decision at that time, ” said Dragons CEO Peter Doust. “It is a positive outcome for everyone associated with rugby league, not just the Dragons to have an athlete of Mark’s quality back in the NRL for all the right reasons”.
The 28 year old Renown United junior returns to add to his current Club statistics of 141 games, 81 tries, 26 goals for a total of 376 points after his debut in Round 8 of the year 2000 against the Newcastle Knights.
“The last two years have been great, I’ve learnt a lot both on and off the field and I think living overseas, especially in Europe teaches you a lot,” said Gasnier. “But whilst you are away from friends and family you have a lot of time to think and when your thinking about the back end of your career you set your priorities differently and winning a competition here at the Dragons is definitely one thing I would like to achieve.”
“I always wanted to come back to the Dragons and from the start I’ve been honest with Peter (Doust) and had numerous conversations with Wayne (Bennett) and as long as a deal could be done then I was always going to be back in the red and white,” he added.
Whilst being away from the game for close to two years Gasnier is looking to get back to training with the Dragons squad and will wait until everything is right to make a return.
“I’m not expecting any favours when I return to training,” Gasnier said. “Obviously the team is going extremely well but hopefully I can return in the near future and when I do I’ll be hoping to play some consistent rugby league and play to the plans that Wayne puts in place.”
Dragons Coach Wayne Bennett said he was excited about being able to Coach a player of Gasnier’s quality and was also unsure as to when he would make his return in the NRL.
“I’m happy for the Dragons to have him back at the Club,” Bennett said. “I’m also happy for him that he is returning to his junior Club and will be able to contribute in a positive way for the Dragons.
“In relation to him returning I haven’t made a decision on that as I’ll need to assess him at training and obviously what best suits the team,” he added.
Dragons Captain Ben Hornby indicated that Gasnier would be warmly welcomed by the players’ when he joins them for the first time tomorrow.
“It will be great to have a player of his quality returning to the Club,” Hornby said. “He is a good mate and a good player and I’m sure the new blokes that haven’t met him before will be thrilled to have him in the squad.”