St Helens prop Luke Thompson in demand from NRL clubs

Luke Thompson in action
Luke Thompson in action

St Helens prop Luke Thompson has admitted fielding interest from NRL clubs as he prepares to fly out to Australia with the Great Britain squad.

The 24-year-old and his Saints front-row team-mate Alex Walmsley are sure to be the centre of attention in Sydney on Thursday following a newspaper report claiming Canterbury Bulldogs are ready to table an offer for the pair.

The duo's already high stock soared even further following their outstanding performances in Saints' 23-6 Grand Final win over Salford at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Walmsley, 29, was in big demand from NRL clubs after he burst on to the international scene at the 2017 World Cup in Australia but shortly afterwards he signed a new contract that runs to the end of 2022.

But Thompson has just 12 months left on his deal with the champions and confirms there is interest from down under.

"I haven't thought about it," he told the PA news agency as he prepared for his departure. "I'm happy doing what I'm doing.

"I've still got next year (with Saints). There's interest there but, like I say, I've not thought too much about it.

"I'll just concentrate on my rugby and do my job and the rest will take care of itself."

South Sydney - coached by Great Britain boss Wayne Bennett - are thought to have made a move earlier in the year for Thompson, who was dubbed the "best prop in the world" by Walmsley after his man-of-the-match performance on Saturday.

"It's all opinions but, if people are saying that, it's only good, isn't it?" Thompson said.

Thompson enjoyed an impressive Test series against New Zealand in 2018 and, despite another stellar season with his club, is confident there is still significant improvement to come.

He believes another series under Bennett, allied to going up against some of the best front rowers in the game from Tonga and the Kiwis, will help take his game to a new level.

"At the beginning of the year I set myself a target of getting into the international set-up again because I really enjoyed working with Wayne Bennett last year," Thompson said.

"It's going to make me better again, especially playing against some of the best players in the world.

"I'm 24 now and I'm still trying to improve. Every day, any way I can, I'm trying to get better.

"I can't wait to go up against some of the best players in the word. It's going to be a great experience."

Thompson and Walmsley are among a 13-strong group who will link up with the rest of the Great Britain squad currently with the England team preparing for the inaugural World Cup Nines which take place in Sydney on Friday and Saturday.

The Lions tour starts against a Tonga Invitational XIII in Hamilton on October 26 and is followed by two Tests against New Zealand and one against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.

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