Joel Thompson reveals all in ‘absolute nightmare’ time at St Helens

Joel Thompson arrived at St Helens ahead of the 2021 Super League as a key overseas signing.

He left at the end of the same season despondent with his contribution.

That’s according to the man himself who, on the Physio Spill podcast, revealed some home truths about his life and career.

First of all, Thompson made the move to Saints due to his excitement of having already played in the UK in the World Club Challenge and the want to soak up some more of the British atmosphere – Saints also offered him another year’s contract more than his club at the time, Manly Sea Eagles.

“At Manly I still had a deal, but there was an offer to go overseas and  get an extra year,” Thompson said.

“I wanted to come over and play footy, I enjoyed the fans when I came over for the World Club Challenge when we (Manly) played Warrington at Warrington.

“But, the challenge started when I stepped foot in the UK out of Manchester airport as we had some sad news from Australia.

“My sister-in-law was quite sick, the rain and wind started hitting us in the face and my little girl started crying.”

Having said that, Thompson praised Saints for the standards they upheld, but he felt he didn’t always reach them.

“We came over to a really good club and I came to a club that had high standards and I always had high standards for myself.

“I came over with a bit of an ankle injury, so I was a bit of a mess and I didn’t move as well as I always have.

“I started to get really hard on myself and I wasn’t performing how I’d performed before with breaking tackles and the line.”

The 33-year-old revealed how his injuries took their toll on him, both mentally and physically.

“My hand and fingers just couldn’t grip the ball, so I couldn’t carry it hard any more.

“I couldn’t grip which meant I couldn’t run as hard and then I had that famous toe injury.

“I got this injury and you don’t think too much of it just crack on, but I couldn’t run properly and I would put my foot in this bucket of ice as much as I could and I didn’t handle it the best i could.

“I was out of form, not playing well and we were all upset as I tried to get my wife flights to back home to get back home to family.

“It was an absolute nightmare, I just did not care and it was hard to put a smile on my face.

“I felt guilty for putting my family in this situation – I felt absolute s**t and that was probably reflected in my form.”

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Harvey Rabbet
Harvey Rabbet
10 months ago

Takes some ball to hold your hand up and say that. You’ve done the right thing by your family and by the Saints club. All the best for the future.