Former Widnes star catching the eye in NRL

Four years ago, the player who came at the top of Super League’s tryscoring chart was Denny Solomona of Castleford Tigers, with 40 touchdowns in 2016.

Denny would soon move on to rugby union, in a controversial move that saw the Tigers take legal action against Sale Sharks.

But the player who came second in the tryscoring charts in 2016 was Corey Thompson of Widnes Vikings.

Corey helped the Vikings finish in seventh place in the Super League table that year, which seems like a great achievement in hindsight, and he had one more season with the club before heading back home to join the Wests Tigers in 2018.

The photograph of him that heads this article comes from those days, which may only be four years ago but, from a Widnes point of view, perhaps feel much longer ago than that.

Since heading to the NRL, Thompson gave some outstanding performances for the Tigers before transferring to the Gold Coast Titans a couple of weeks ago.

And last Saturday I thought he had an outstanding game for the Tigers as they shocked the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Justin Holbrook is doing a fine job with the Titans and it was clearly a smart move to recruit Thompson, who is a thinking fullback with lots of pace. I think Corey Thompson, despite being such a late arrival, is an important factor in the Titans’ gradual improvement from their shocking season in 2019.

But of course the key factor is Holbrook himself. The former St Helens coach has got the Titans off the foot of the NRL ladder and I’m delighted to see him making his mark in the NRL, which of course I always expected him to.

But as for Thompson, I can only guess at the ‘might-have-beens’ going through the minds of the Widnes supporters if Thompson had stayed with them.

Meanwhile we’ll see whether Thompson can continue the good work and help the Titans to victory tomorrow morning against the Cronulla Sharks.

This article is an amended version of part of League Express editor Martyn Sadler’s ‘Talking Rugby League’ column that was published in this week’s League Express