Saints prop Thompson makes early Bulldogs move


England prop Luke Thompson has joined Canterbury Bulldogs ahead of schedule after refusing to take a pay cut with St Helens.

Thompson was due to move to the NRL ahead of the 2021 season after signing a three-year deal in February.

The 25-year-old will instead head to Belmore with immediate effect for an undisclosed fee, ending a 13-year stay with the Super League champions.

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Saints chairman Eamonn McManus revealed the club decided to grant Thompson an early release from his contract after he would not agree to take a reduction in his salary amid the coronavirus pandemic.

McManus said: "St Helens had been placed in a difficult position as Luke Thompson had opted not to participate in our club wide squad and staff pay reduction arrangement for the 2020 season, this being necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic and its significant commercial consequences."

Thompson will spend two weeks in quarantine before being available to make his Bulldogs debut.

Canterbury chief executive Andrew Hill said: "It is fantastic news that Luke will be able to arrive next week and be available to play this season after serving the compulsory isolation period.

"To have an international forward, seen by many as one the best front-rowers in the game, arrive early is tremendous news for all of our members and fans and a great boost for our squad for the rest of this season.

"I must thank St Helens for enabling this to happen and Luke for showing great character in arriving early and being prepared to sit through his isolation phase before joining us.

"We are hopeful that Luke will be out on the field representing the Bulldogs within the next month."

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