Bradford Bulls: Ex-Leeds forward to depart Championship side to return home to New Zealand

Josh McAllister
Bodene Thompson, SWPix.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Bradford Bulls have confirmed that Bodene Thompson has been granted an early release to return home to New Zealand on compassionate grounds.

The 34-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Championship side ahead of the 2023 campaign from Leeds Rhinos.

He will leave the club following their Round 17 clash with Keighley Cougars on Sunday, July 2.

Thompson said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Bradford player and working as part of the club’s foundation. It has been a pleasure working alongside the staff, players and the local community.

“My partner Kaea and our young family are back home in New Zealand and I am looking forward to being back with them.

“I will return home after the game against Keighley and my sole focus is finishing on a high and giving the club the best opportunity of achieving its goals.

“Thank you to the club for their understanding and thank you to the fans for their support since I came in.

“I would also like to make a special mention to Jason Hirst and Brian Noble, who have been outstanding since we first met.”

Bradford CEO pays tribute to departing Bodene Thompson 

Bradford CEO Jason Hirst paid tribute to the departing overseas forward, who first made the move to England with Leigh from the New Zealand Warriors in 2018.

He also featured for Warrington and Toronto before moving to Headingley Stadium midway through the 2020 campaign.

“As well as being a quality rugby league player, Bodene is also an absolutely first class, inspirational human being,” Hirst said.

“I, as much as anyone, sometimes mistakenly believe that rugby league and the Bulls in particular, are the be all and end all in life, but the actual truth is there are some more important things, family being one.

“In reaching this decision, Bodene has put his partner and young family first and all the Bulls staff recognise and understand that.

“Through nobody’s fault, sometimes things don’t work out as planned, or as everyone would like in life and this is one such occasion.

“Although he’s only been with us a short time, Bodene leaves having made a lasting impression in people’s lives, through his approachability, humility, candidness and unwavering desire to be a good role model to all of those around him.

“He only plays one way and that’s 100%, so I know how keen he is to extend our unbeaten run and go out on a high, after our next 2 fixtures against Toulouse and Keighley.

“On behalf of everyone at our great club, I wish Bodene and his family every future success.”

READ NEXT: Bradford Bulls in no rush to appoint permanent head coach as club chase ‘genuine shot’ at promotion

FOLLOWKeep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League mobile app