4th February 2020, 10:41 | englandrl
St Helens have confirmed that England prop-forward Luke Thompson will join NRL side Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2021.
The 24-year-old – who represented Great Britain this past Autumn – has made over 150 appearances for St Helens lifting the League Leaders’ Shield on three occasions and winning the Super League Grand Final twice, most recently in 2019 when he won the Harry Sunderland Trophy.
Thompson said: “Getting the chance to join the Bulldogs and be a part of a club with so much history and with such passionate fans is very exciting.
“Having spoken to many people at the club and listened to their plans for the future, I know that they are building for success and I’m looking forward to being part of that.
“When you join a club like Bulldogs you know about the players and the culture that has gone before you and the fact that second best isn’t good enough and that was something that was important to me.”
🗣 "Getting the chance to join the Bulldogs and be a part of a club with so much history and with such passionate fans is very exciting,"— England Rugby League (@England_RL) February 4, 2020
🤝 #EnglandRL’s @LukeTommo1 on his 2021 move to @NRL_Bulldogs. pic.twitter.com/AcR8TnUrEy
Thompson will follow in the footsteps of England’s most-capped player of all time - James Graham - in leaving St Helens for the Bulldogs as he did in 2012.
St Helens Chairman, Eamonn McManus, said: “We were informed last week that Luke has decided to join Canterbury Bulldogs next season.
“We accept and totally respect Luke’s decision and wish him nothing but success in his career and in his life. We are absolutely sure that he will be absolutely committed to the Club and to his teammates for the rest of this season.
“There’s no hiding from the fact that this is a bitter disappointment to all of us as Luke has been connected to the Club since the age of 11 and has developed into an absolute top player at 24 years old.
“If ever he decides to return to England and to Super League then there would be a red carpet waiting for him at St.Helens.”
England internationals George Williams, Elliot Whitehead, John Bateman and Josh Hodgson are all set to play for Canberra Raiders in the NRL this season while James Graham will feature for St George Illawarra Dragons and Tom Burgess remains with South Sydney Rabbitohs.