Regarded as one of the best props in Super League, Luke Thompson will depart St Helens to join the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2021.
Informed of Thompson’s decision last week, St Helens admit they are sad but would not stand in the prop’s way.
“We were informed last week that Luke has decided to join Canterbury Bulldogs next season,” said club Chairman Eamonn McManus.
“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.”
Should he wish to return to the Super League, St Helens say they will be waiting with open arms.
“There’s no hiding from the fact that this is a bitter disappointment to all of us,” continued McManus.
“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.”
Still a young player, Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill opened up about the leadership qualities that Thompson has.
“Even though Luke is at the start of his career, we have been really impressed by his on-field leadership qualities and his desire to be the best.
“He is an excellent player who has become a star of the Super League and has shown what he is capable of at International level.
“We are looking forward to him getting the chance to show everyone in the NRL what he is capable of.”
Thompson is excited about the history of the Bulldogs and looks forward to joining them from 2021.
“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,” said Thompson.
“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.”
With one eye on his Bulldogs adventure, Thompson says his focus will remain with St Helens for 2020.
“When you join a club like the Bulldogs you know about the players and the culture that has gone before you,” continued Thompson.
“The fact that second best isn’t good enough and that was something that was important to me.
I look forward to joining them for the 2021 season and getting to be a part of a talented squad that is hungry for success.
“This will now enable me to focus on having a great final season with St Helens.”