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Leeds confirm Thompson signing

Leeds Rhinos have confirmed the signing of experienced back rower Bodene Thompson from Toronto for the remainder of the season.

The 32-year-old is one of several Toronto players to have found a new club after the Wolfpack withdrew from Super League due to financial and logistical issues.

Thompson has been in the Northern Hemisphere for two years now, having previous stints with Leigh and Warrington after a fruitful career in the NRL which saw him play over 140 top-flight games.

Speaking on signing for the Rhinos, Thompson said: “I am delighted to be joining the Rhinos. I had a number of options but when I spoke to Brian McDermott, my head coach at Toronto, he told me there was only one club I should be joining.

“I know quite a few of the lads here already and I am looking forward to getting back on the field. It has been a tough year so far with the coronavirus lockdown and then the uncertainty over Toronto’s future and I am just pleased to have this season sorted now.

“I could have just sat 2020 out and waited for next season but that is not the sort of character I am, I wanted to get back out on the field as soon as possible and I would like to thank Leeds Rhinos for giving me that opportunity.”

Head coach Richard Agar added: “Bodene is a quality forward who has a great deal of experience both in the NRL but also in Super League with Warrington Wolves and Toronto Wolfpack.

“This is a win-win situation for Bodene and ourselves; he is able to show what he can do whilst allowing us to strengthen our pack with a tough period of games coming up in a short period of time.”

Leeds Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield explained how the signing came about: “Bodene is someone we have been looking at for a couple of years.

“I have spoken to Brian McDermott and Kylie Leuluai about him and they both could not speak highly enough of him and his character.

“We went into this season with our number 20 vacant as we felt we had enough strength in our forward pack, in particular, to get through the early rounds.

“We lost James Donaldson for six weeks in the first game back and now Alex Mellor will be out for a similar period plus Stevie Ward and Dom Crosby are both sidelined for an indefinite period which changed the situation.

“We spoke with our senior players last week, when the possibility of signing Bodene came about, and they are fully behind the decision and are looking forward to working with him.”

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