Thompson leaves St Helens after refusing pay cut

Luke Thompson has joined Canterbury Bulldogs with immediate effect.

St Helens have sold the England star for an undisclosed fee after refusing to take a pay cut alongside the rest of his team-mates.

The champions joined other Super League clubs in rolling out pay cuts during the season lockdown, though Saints implemented their reduction a month later than most clubs.

However, they’ve revealed Thompson would not accept a cut. As a result, they have sold Thompson to the Bulldogs, who he had agreed to join in 2021.

He will travel to Australia imminently and will have to quarantine for two weeks.

Chairman Eamonn 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.

“It was therefore agreed to be in everyone’s best interests for the transfer to take place now rather than at the end of the season as originally planned.”

Thompson has emerged as one of the world’s best forwards in recent years and won the Harry Sunderland trophy last year as Saints won the Grand Final.

“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,” he said.

“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.”