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Luke Thompson and Kyle Flanagan’s glaring absence from Canterbury Bulldogs training

It’s been relatively quiet on the Luke Thompson front for the past week or so, but the rumour mill indefinitely kicked up once more when the former St Helens prop has been labelled ‘absent’ from training.

The Canterbury Bulldogs posted photos of their pre-season training camp with a number of their stars snapped in the Doggies’ colours.

But, not amongst them was Thompson as well as Flanagan, whose futures have been up in the air in recent months.

The Daily Telegraph had previously reported that Thompson continues to be shopped around – in both hemispheres – in a bid to get his lucrative contract off of the Bulldogs’ pay list.

The former St Helens forward is also rumoured to have been offered to the Wests Tigers, according to reports Down Under after just one-and-a-half seasons at Belmore, but there is also speculation he could return to Super League.

The Bulldogs’ salary cap looks almighty close to the limit following the transfer of new signing Viliame Kikau who will be on a reported $800,000 a year when his contract starts in 2023.

For Flanagan, the 23-year-old halfback was on the receiving end of loaded criticism in his first season in Belmore after failing to play a key role for Trent Barrett’s Canterbury Bulldogs.

Flanagan even found himself in the reserves, despite his hefty wage – and has since been linked to a move to the UK.

The 23-year-old has made almost 50 appearances in rugby league’s most impressive competition, having played a key role in the Sydney Roosters’ 2020 season.

However, it is thought that Canterbury are willing to pay a portion of Flanagan’s wage just to get him off their books as Phil Gould continues his rebuilding of the Bulldogs – that would signal an increased interest from the northern hemisphere with the much lower salary cap hindering any such increased wage.

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