St Helens swoop to sign experienced NRL forward

St Helens have confirmed the signing of Joel Thompson from next season.

The 32-year-old has signed a two-year-deal with the Super League champions following his release from Manly Sea Eagles.

Thompson will be a ready-made replace for Zeb Taia in the back row, providing vast experience having played in the NRL for Canberra, St George and Manly.

He has made 234 appearances in Australia’s premier competition since 2008, while also playing seven times for the Indigenous All Stars.

On signing for the Saints, Thompson said: “I first want to pay thanks to everyone at Manly for all they have done for me and I wish them well in the future.

“To join a powerhouse of a Club with the proud history of St Helens is something I am very excited about. I am looking forward to the challenge of earning the respect of my new club and fans.

“It is a great opportunity for me as well as my wife and two daughters to come over to the other side of the world. I remember playing in the World Club Series for the Dragons against Warrington in 2015. We beat them and I loved the atmosphere and I thought I want to experience more of that in the Super League and there is no better Club to do that at than St.Helens.”

Head Coach Kristian Woolf added: “Joel is a player I have been familiar with in the NRL for a long time. He has had a strong career at a number of clubs in the NRL and he has shown what a tough competitor he is.

“Joel is a physical defensive player, but has speed and a skill set which will suit the game over here in Super League and he is highly respected.

“His community work as an RLPA Board member is fantastic and all the things we hear and see of him is exactly what we want at the Saints.”

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