Canterbury Bulldogs have signed St Helens prop forward Luke Thompson from 2021 and beyond.
The England international is one of the most highly-rated young forwards in the game and will link up with the Bulldogs at the end of the 2020 Super League campaign.
Thompson has made 158 appearances for Saints, scoring 25 tries and securing three League Leaders Shields in 2014, 2018 and 2019, as well as two Super League titles in 2014 and 2019.
He was also awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy in last year’s Grand Final, helping his hometown club defeat Salford Red Devils at Old Trafford.
The 24-year-old will see out his contract with St Helens in 2020 and will look to hit the ground running when he joins Canterbury at the end of the season.
Thompson will be following in the footsteps of former Bulldog James Graham when he makes the move, with the aim of having a similar impact on Australia’s premier competition.
“We were informed last week that Luke has decided to join Canterbury Bulldogs next season,” Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus told the club’s website.
“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.
“There’s no hiding from the fact that this is a bitter disappointment to all of us as 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.”